Skip to main content

Full text of "The Soul Of The Apostolate Dom. Chautard Pope St. Pius X"

See other formats

The Interior Life of Grace 
the Key to Saving Souls A 

Dorn Jcan-Baptiste 

Chautard, OXIS/t), 

"1 warmly recommend this hook to you, as I value it 
very highly and have myself made it my bedside hook . ” 

— Pope St. Pius X 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2010 

The Soul of the Apostolate 



(Abbot of Notre Dame de Sept-Fons) 

Translated by 

A Monk of Our Lady of Gethsemani 

( New English Translation ) 


M. Maurice Molloy, O.C.S.O. 

M. Alberic Wulf, O.C.S.O. 


M. Fredericus Dunne, O.C.S.O. 
Abbas B.M. de Gethsemani 


+ Joannes A. Floersh, D.D. 

Archiepiscopus Ludovicopolitanus 
Die 16a Septembris, 1946 

140 th Thousand 


Copyright 1946 

By the Abbey of Gethsemani, Inc. 
Trappist, Kentucky 

Printed in U. S. A. 


A Biographical Note 

It is surely significant that the day on which the 
author of this modern spiritual classic, the Soul of 
the Apostolate, was born in the French Alps, was 
the feast of St. Gregory the Great, March 12, 1858. 
For it is one of the cardinal principles of St. Greg- 
ory’s mystical and ascetical teaching that there exists 
an inseparably close relation between the so-called 
"active” and "contemplative” lives, so much so that 
though one may dominate over the other (and the 
most perfect state is that in which contemplation 
dominates) yet in the soul of anyone called by God 
to high sanctity the life is always essentially a mix- 
ture of contemplation (love of God) and action 
(love of neighbor). 

Now it is precisely this problem which the bril- 
liant and ardent Cistercian abbot of Sept-Fons, in 
central France sets himself to elucidate and discuss 
in this pamphlet, which has gone into many editions 
and hundreds of thousands of copies in many lan- 
guages, and which was the bedside book of Pope Pius 
X. The reason why St. Gregory the Great was so 
perfect in expounding the relation of action and con- 
templation is that, called from the cloister to the 
Papacy in one of the crises in the history of the 
Church, he found out what that relation was in the 
crucible of trial and labor and distraction and strug- 
gle. And the reason why Dom Chautard has been 
able to write so well on the same theme for our own 
age, intoxicated with the confusion of its own sterile 
and purely worldly activities, is that he too was so 


often torn, by the hand of God, from the cloister, 
and made an instrument of Divine Power and Provi- 
dence and Love to protect the monks and nuns of the 
Cistercian Order, and to call priests, religious, and 
layworkers in Catholic Action to a life of closer 
union with God, in Whom is the only principle of 
vital and effective social action: divine charity, won 
for us by the Sacrifice of Christ, His Incarnate Word, 
upon the Cross. 

The Chautards ran a little bookshop, and the fa- 
ther of the future monk was one of those purely 
nominal Catholics who sometimes go to Mass, but 
whose principles are entirely vitiated by the mate- 
rialistic and utilitarian view's of the middle class to 
w’hich they belong. The mother was in a different 
category. She had more faith, and she saw' to it that 
her children w'ere educated as Catholics. 

However, as their son grew' into young manhood, 
neither he nor they had an idea of his entering re- 
ligion. He w'ent to Marseilles to study economics at 
the university, w'ith a commercial career in mind. 
There w'as a relative in Chile. Perhaps the young 
man would join him and make a fortune there. The 
atmosphere of the University of Marseilles w r as 
scarcely Catholic, but in a footnote to one of the 
later sections of the Sotd of the Apostolate, the au- 
thor tells us how' he w'as one day much affected by 
the simple devotion with which a priest was reciting 
his Breviary, and he began to ask himself w'hy he 
did not pray more himself. 

Soon he began to frequent a Catholic club, found- 
ed for the working and lower middle-class youth of 
the great Mediterranean port by the saintly Father 


When Dom Chautard describes his experience of 
this really vital and supernatural brand of Catholic 
Action in the Soul of the Apostolate he is referring to 
a later visit to Fr. Allemand’s club, after his ordina- 

But indeed it may be said that Dom Chautard’s 
vocation, and the Soul of the Apostolate itself are 
both to be traced to Fr. Allemand’s club, at Mar- 

If this youth-club had been one of those more or 
less timid compromises with modern notions that 
make so much Catholic Action seem like no more 
than a Y.M.C.A. run by a couple of priests, Dom 
Chautard would have probably ended by exporting 
nitrates from Chile. But here he found something 
more than third-rate amateur dramatics and the at- 
mosphere of a secular social club. This was more 
than a tame and sheepish attempt to rival the attrac- 
tions of the dance hall and the cafe by vainly trying 
to beat them at their own game of pleasing and en- 
tertaining human nature. There was something more, 
something that appealed to a much deeper and more 
urgent and more vital necessity: faith, supernatural 
charity, a deep and simple and unbreakable solidarity 
among souls united, as he was to discover, in Christ. 
And, as a result of all this, he began to taste "that 
peace which the world cannot give.” 

It was when he was kneeling in prayer, one day, 
in the chapel of the club, at the tomb of its saintly 
founder, that he received the grace of his vocation 
to religion. 

He countered the violent and embittered opposi- 
tion of his father’s bourgeois hatred of religious 
orders, by a barefoot pilgrimage up the stony Alpine 
roads to Our Lady’s Mountain Shrine at Laus, and in 



answer to his prayers, he was admitted as a postulant 
to the Trappist Abbey of Aiguebelle, near the Rhone, 
north of Avignon, in 1877. 

Here he began to learn, with inexpressible joy, 
how to live the contemplative life as it had been 
practiced for centuries according to the Rule of St. 
Benedict and the Usages of the Cistercians. He began 
to live the life of a White Monk, that life of ob- 
scurity, obedience, silence, poverty, solitude, hidden 
in the "secret of God’s face,” that is, of His presence 
and of His will. But it is above all, a life of cease- 
less praise. 

Dom Gabriel, the abbot of this ancient monastery, 
was a friend of the great Benedictine Dom Gueran- 
ger and' he stressed the liturgical character of the Cis- 
tercian life above all. That is one reason why a most 
valuable section of the Soul of the Apostolate is the 
one devoted to the liturgical life. Surely there is 
nothing more fundamental and nothing that is more 
closely interconnected with Dom Chautard’s concep- 
tion of Catholic Action as a reproduction of the life 
of the early Christians: and it was the earliest ages, 
especially the Patristic age, that were the most purely 
liturgical and, as we see from the writings of the 
Fathers, the fullest of pure charity, based on sacri- 
fice, without which Catholic Action is a mockery. 

But like so many White Monks before him, like 
St. Bernard and St. Peter of Tarentaise, Jean-Baptiste 
Chautard was not destined to taste for long the un- 
mixed joys of contemplation. He was not yet solemn- 
ly professed, being still in the midst of his studies, 
and just ordained deacon, when Aiguebelle was faced 
with complete ruin. 

Dom Gabriel had had some opportunity to esti- 
mate the young monk’s practical ability, since Fr. 


Jean-Baptiste had been serving for some time as guest- 
master. The abbot took the bold step of sending him 
to Paris to try and use his ingenuity to save his com- 
munity. But all Fr. Chautard’s native ability and 
eloquence and learning and economics proved use- 
less. Finally he threw himself down in prayer at the 
shrine of Our Lady of Victories. When, a half hour 
later, he emerged into the street, a stranger came up 
to him saying: "Are you not a Trappist? What 
brings you to Paris, Father? Can I be of any as- 
sistance to you?” The rest of the story can be guessed. 
Aiguebelle was saved. And Dom Chautard had his 
first real practical experience of the relative worth of 
natural activity, and activity aided by, and based on 

The rest of the story of his life is a catalogue of 
activities that might appall a member of the most 
active Order in the Church. 

After directing, as cellarer, the rebuilding of prac- 
tically the whole monastery of Aiguebelle and the 
establishment of a chocolate factory there to provide 
a little revenue, he became abbot of Chambarand 
near Grenoble. 

After the reunion of the various Trappist congre- 
gations in 1892 he was commissioned by the Abbot 
General, Dom Sebastian Wyart, to see to the repur- 
chase of the old Mother House of the Cistercian 
Order, Citeaux, which he bought and made ready for 
occupancy. When Dom Sebastian moved into the 
Mother House, one of the most important abbeys of 
the Order, Sept-Fons, needed a new abbot. Dom 
Chautard was elected. 

He made use of his right to refuse, but when Dom 
Sebastian appealed to the Pope, Leo XIII expressed 


his desire that Dom Chautard accept, and he yielded 
to the will of God. 

Thus he became abbot of a house at once impor- 
tant and impoverished, and responsible for daughter- 
houses not only in France and Belgium, but in China, 
Japan, Palestine, and Australia. Soon he was to add 
another in Brazil. And the constitutions of the Order 
require that all such houses be often visited by their 
Father Immediate, though obviously he could not 
visit them all each year in person. 

In 1901, when one of the frequent attacks against 
the Church burst out again in France, Dom Chautard 
was chosen to represent the Cistercians of the Strict 
Observance in Paris. He put up such a good fight 
that Clemenceau, who was no friend of the Church, 
was nevertheless impressed with his sincerity and 
fearlessness, and the Order at large was spared. 
Others were by no means so fortunate. 

During the First World War, besides his frequent 
visits to the monks who had been conscripted and 
sent to the front, Dom Chautard gave shelter at Sept- 
Fons to a community of Belgian Cistercians, another 
community from Palestine, the orphans from an asy- 
lum at Arras, and the inmates of an old men’s home. 

At the same time, Dom Chautard added to this a 
much more important work of mercy in the spiritual 
order. A magazine for French priests, conscripted 
and sent to the front, directed by him, attained such 
popularity and influence that it was continued with 
even greater fruit in the difficult period of readjust- 
ment that followed the war’s end. At that time, these 
priests, exposed to great spiritual dangers by the 
moral and physical disintegration which they had 
seen at such close range, and by the unsettled state 
of the society to which they returned, needed nothing 

run soul of thf apostolate 


so much as the consolations and medicine of a doc- 
trine like Dom Chaurard’s, which placed the greatest 
emphasis on the one source of all our strength: God’s 
grace, obtained in ever greater abundance by a life 
of prayer and mortification. 

No one was better qualilied to help these priests 
adjust themselves to their difficult situation, and no 
one was better equipped to train them as good sol- 
diers of Christ, in the active ministry, than this con- 
templative abbot who had been compelled, as it were, 
by Providence, to learn from experience the fruitful- 
ness of an active life that had its roots deep in prayer 
and penance. 

But Dom Chautard had long since arrived at the 
conclusions to which he was now giving his maturest 

In the persecution of the Church in France, under 
Clemenceau, in the early days of the century, Dom 
Chautard’s keen eye had discovered a glaring incon- 
sistency in the reaction of a certain type of Catholic 
leader. He observed that some priests, some organ- 
izers of Catholic Action, imagined that they could 
fight political enemies with more or less worldly and 
political weapons. In defending the Church against 
state persecution, they thought the most important 
thing was to gain and preserve political and social 
power. They believed that these gains could best be 
consolidated by a great material expansion. They ex- 
pended all their efforts in running newspapers, hold- 
ing conventions, publishing pamphlets and maga- 
zines, and above all, they measured the growth of 
Catholic life by the number of new school buildings, 
new Church buildings, new hospital buildings, new 
orphanages, new social centers. ... As if the Church 
of God were built exclusively of bricks and mortar! 


Such apostles tended to congratulate themselves 
when they had raised large sums of money, or when 
their Churches were filled with great throngs of 
people, without reference to what might be going on 
in the souls of all those who were pesent. 

To the eyes of the Cistercian Abbot, a man who 
had learned his wisdom close to God, in the silence 
of the cloister, before the Tabernacle, there was a 
deep-seated and subtly pernicious error in all this. 
Were these the means to be emphasized in the de- 
fense of the King Whose Kingdom is not of this 
world, and Who said: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of 
God and His justice, and all these things shall be 
added unto you” (Matt. vi:33). 

Buildings, newspapers, meetings, conventions, all 
these things were important, vitally important. But 
they were not the one essential thing. And those 
who had become entirely absorbed in this work of 
more or less material growth, seemed to have lost 
sight of the fact that the Church is built of living 
stones. It is built of saints. And saints are made only 
by the grace of God and the infused virtues and the 
gifts of the Holy Ghost, not by speeches and pub- 
licity and campaigns which are all doomed to sterility 
without the essential means of prayer and morti- 

Dom Chautard saw, no doubt, that all this came 
from the subtle infection of Modernism and kindred 
heresies, bred of contact with a purely materialistic 
and secular culture. And he, like the saintly Pontiff 
under whose reign he was then living, saw that the 
only remedy was a return to the fundamentals of 
Christian Doctrine in all the power and beauty of 
their traditional presentation. The only thing that 
could save the Church was to base all work of recon- 


struction on the solid foundation of the Gospel as 
presented in die purity of Catholic Doctrine. 

Consequently, Dom Chautard brought out, in 
1907, a lttle pamphlet entitled "L’Apostolat des 
Catechismes et de la Vie Interieure” { "The Apostolate 
of Catechism and the Interior Life”). The title is self- 
explanatory. More important than all the methods 
based on modern publicity and display was the old 
traditional Christian technique of the formation of 
saints by personal contact and the teaching by word 
and example, in the charity of Christ. And the most 
vitally necessary thing in the regrowth of Christian 
life in countries where the Church was subject to 
state opposition and interference, was the solid and 
systematic teaching of the basic truths of our Faith 
by men and women deeply imbued with the interior 

It was this little pamphlet that first presented the 
arguments that form the cornerstone of the present 
volume, and it was on this foundation that the holy 
abbot proceeded to build when his book was ac- 
claimed on all sides by Catholic leaders, priests, bish- 
ops, and cardinals. The result was the first edition of 
The Soul of the Apostolate, which became one of 
the favorite spiritual books of Catholic priests, re- 
ligious, and even laymen, in our time. 

Not until after the First World War, however, did 
the book reach its present size, with the addition of 
the valuable sections on the Liturgical Life and Cus- 
tody of the Heart. In its final form, it has been trans- 
lated into all the most important languages of the 
world, and its multiple editions have run into many 
hundreds of thousands of copies. 

Far from losing any of its popularity and useful- 
ness, the Soul of the Apostolate recommends itself 



with ever more urgency in our time, when the world 
is barely recovering from the most frightful social 
cataclysm in the history of man, with no prospect of 
anything brighter in the future, if men do not learn 
to turn their steps in the directions pointed out in 
these pages: the path that was first shown to men 
by the incarnate Son of God. 

What was Dom Chautard’s own interior life? His 
book itself tells us enough on that score. In it we 
see the reflection of his own soul, a strong and simple 
faith and indomitable will to serve God in all things, 
profound and uninterrupted union with the Indwell- 
ing Trinity, an unconquerable love of Christ and of 
His Immaculate Mother: all these elements kept this 
sane and prudent and ardent priest on the safe and 
direct road to heaven, steering clear of the two equal- 
ly noxious extremes of quietism (which he character- 
ized as "perfumed jelly”) and the heresy of works 
whose obstreperous addicts he condemned, character- 
izing them as "the heavyweights” (les champions de 

The life of Dom Chautard was a life of labor, of 
sacrifice, in which perhaps the greatest sacrifice was 
to be constantly out of his beloved cloister, sepa- 
rated from his monastic community and above all 
from the delights of the liturgical life as lived from 
day to day by the Cistercian monks in their choir, 
which is the court of Jesus and Mary, the anteroom 
of heaven. In his later years, he was persecuted by 
ill-health, and spent many nights without sleep, in 
between his days of ardous work for his Order and 
for souls. But all this, far from breaking his morale 
and leading him into the morass of self-pitying dis- 
couragement, only intensified his union with God. 
What was his secret? A deep interior life, a pro- 
found and simple spirit of faith which was able to 



see God’s will in all things — a charity, indeed, 
which was hungry, avid for that will, under whatso- 
ever form it presented itself to him. 

If there is one concept that is capable of sum- 
ming up Dom Chautard’s spirituality, it is one which 
is sometimes seen written, most appropriately, over 
the doors of Cistercian monasteries: "GOD ALONE.” 
Not contemplation, not action, not works, not rest, 
not this or that particular thing, but God in every- 
thing, God in anything, God in His will, God in 
other men, God present in his own soul. To do 
whatever God willed, to suffer whatever He willed, 
that was enough for Dom Chautard, because all he 
asked was the opportunity to give himself, to give 
his will, utterly, without recall, to the infinite Wis- 
dom and Love Who created and redeemed us all. 

It is the spirit of St. Bernard, and the spirit of the 
White Monks. It is the spirit of Jesus Christ, the 
Son of God. 

It is the spirit in which these pages were written. 


Pius X, in an audience granted in 1908 to Aisgr. 
Cloutier, Bishop of Three Rivers, Canada, addressed 
the folloiving words to the Bishop, who was laying 
before His Holiness his many projects for the good of 
his diocese: 

” And now, my dear Son, if you desire that God 
should bless your apostolate and make it fruitful, un- 
dertake everything for His glory, saturate yourself 
and your devoted fellow-workers with the spirit of 
Jesus Christ, animating yourself and them with an 
intense interior lift. To this end, l can offer you no 
better guide than f The Soul of the Apostolate,’ by 
Dom Chautard, Cistercian Abbot. I warmly recom- 
mend this book to you, as I value it very highly, and 
have myself made it my bedside book.” 


to Dom J. B. Chautard, Abbot of the Trappist Mon- 
astery of Notre Dame de Sept-Fons, upon the receipt 
of his work entitled r L’Ame de Tout Apostolat.” 

Dearly Beloved Son: 

W e congratulate you sincerely upon having 
brought out so clearly the absolute necessity of the 
interior life for those engaged in good works, a life 
so necessary for the success of their ministry. 

Expressing a wish that this work in which are 
found gathered together doctrinal lessons and practi- 
cal advice suited to the needs of our times may con- 
tinue to spend and do good. 

W e send with all Our heart to its esteemed author 
an affectionate Apostolic Blessing. 

Given at the Vatican, March 18, 1915. 

Benedict PP XV 


His Eminence Cardinal Vico sent, along with the letter 
of the Sovereign Pontiff, the following lines: 

I hasten to send you herewith the Parchment that our 
Holy Father, Pope Benedict XV, had kindly entrusted to 
me to transmit to you. 

You will read in this revered autograph letter the great 
praise that His Holiness gives to your valuable book L’Ame 
de Tout Apostolat . The Holy Father has read this book 
with deep satisfaction. 

Already Pius X of holy memory had entrusted me with 
the care of expressing his warm congratulations to the pious 
prelate who translated your book into Spanish. 

From His Eminence Cardinal Sevin 

Your book is a golden book. I have read it eagerly. 
Never has Pius X met with a commentator more pious, 
more learned, more eloquent, more practical on the thoughts 
with which he has filled his Exhortation to the Clergy and 
twenty other Encyclicals. 

You may be sure that I have made this treasure known 
around me. Your book is used in the spiritual readings of 
both my seminaries. To Bishops and to a number of priests 
I have expressed a sincere admiration for your work. 

From His Eminence Cardinal MerciER, 
Archbishop of Mechlin 

The events in which I have just taken part did not allow 
me sufficient freedom of mind and the leisure that I should 
have had to read your book with the attention which it 
deserves and to fix my mind on the sublime thoughts that 
you have set forth with your apostolic ardour. 

On looking over your book, I have been struck by the 
resemblance of your teaching with the main subject of a 
retreat that I preached in 1910 to the clergy of my diocese. 

From His Eminence Cardinal Vives 

It is no small merit to have been able in your excellent 
work on the interior life and the Apostolate to condense 
doctrine and practical methods. . . . 

From His Eminence Cardinal Fischer 
Archbishop of Cologne 

1 fully approve of what you have written with so much 
learning, so much experience in this matter and so much 
unction. . . 

Prom His Eminence Cardinal Amette, 
Archbishop of Paris 

I read with much edification your book: IJAme de Tout 
Apostolat , and I will be happy to recommend it to our 
priests and to zealous persons who devote themselves to 
good works. In Paris, especially, where the exterior work 
of the apostolate is so absorbing, it is of great importance 
to be always animated by that sap of the interior life which 
can alone assure its fecundity. 

Prom His Eminence Cardinal Lucox, 

Archbishop of Reims 

I appreciate the truth of the thesis which you develop 
and completely approve of it. . . . 

From His Eminence Cardinal ArcovErde, 
Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro 

To put on Jesus Christ, to live the life of Jesus Christ, 
is the soul of every apostolate as you say in your excellent 
book. . . . 

Prom His Excellency D. Penon, 

Bishop of Moulins 

Fresh and profound thoughts, impressive comments on 
several well known texts and on new texts taken from Holy 
Scripture and the Fathers, striking examples, most of them 
collected and vouched for by yourself in the good works 
with which you have been intimately connected, in fine and 
above all, the personal note, with which you show forth 
the fecundity of an apostolate, which results from the union 
of zeal and piety by the Eucharistic and liturgical life , add 
a more powerful attraction and assure a fuller efficacy to 
what you have already said so well in th£ first development 
of your fundamental thesis. 

Priests, religious , both men and women , lay people in- 
terested in the apostolate, will have no pretext for doing 
without this vadc mecum. Zealous souls especially may dis- 
tribute it widely so that it may be for everyone’s use, not 
for reading once only, but habitually , so that they may go 
back to it, employ it for meditation , that it may serve for 
annual and monthly retreats and also for the training of 
seminarists or noznccs . . . . 

Prom His Excellency Dr. Marre. 
titular Bishop of Const.. Abbot General of the 
Reformed Cistercians 

Nothing lias pleased me more than to hear about the 
new edition of vour excellent book, “IJAme de Tout Apos~ 



Prologue 1 


Active Works and the Interior Life; What They Mean 

1. God wants good works, and therefore zealous action . 4 

2. God wills that the life-principle of our works be Christ 8 

3. What is the interior life? 11 

4. Ignorance and neglect of this interior life 22 

5. Is the interior life lazy? 26 

6. Is the interior life selfish? 33 

7. No conflict between the interior life and the salvation 

of souls 40 


Union of the Active Life and the Interior Life 

1. Priority of the interior life 45 

2. Good works an overflow from the interior life 50 

3. Active works begin and end in the interior life 53 

4. The active and interior lives are interdependent 58 

5. Excellence of this union 65 


Danger of the Active Life zoithout Interior Life 

1. Active works arc a means of sanctification to interior 

souls only 68 

2. The active worker without interior life 75 

3. Interior life the foundation of sanctity in the active 

worker 89 

a. It protects the soul against the dangers of the 

exterior ministry 92 

h. It renews his strength 94 

e. It multiplies his energies and merits 96 

d. It gives him joy and consolation 98 

e. It refines his purity of intention 100 

/. It is a firm defense against discouragement 102 


Action Made Fruitful by the Interior Life 

The Interior life is the condition of all fruitfulness in 
active works 107 

a. The interior life draws down God’s blessing 110 

b. It makes the apostle capable of sanctifying others 

by example 114 

c. Supernatural radiation made possible by the in- 
terior life 119 

d . It makes the Gospel-worker truly eloquent 145 

c. Results of the interior life are deep and lasting . . . 150 
/. The formation of shock troops, Spiritual direction, 

a method of analyzing and guiding souls 160 

(/. A eucharistic interior life ; the only hope of apostolic 
success 183 


Principles and Hints for the Interior Life 

1. To active workers: hints on the interior life 192 

2. Mental prayer absolutely necessary 196 

I. Resolution: fidelity to mental prayer 197 

II. What mental prayer ought to be 200 

III. How to meditate 202 

3. The liturgical life, a source of interior life, is absolutely 

necessary to the apostolic worker 211 

I. What is the Liturgy? 212 

II. What is the liturgical life? 214 

III. The liturgical spirit; three principles 219 

IV. Advantages of the liturgical life 243 

a. It helps me to be supernatural in all my acts 243 

b. A most powerful aid in conforming my interior 

life to that of Jesus Christ 249 

c. It makes me lead, on earth, the life of a saint 

in heaven 256 

V. Practice of the interior life 256 

a. Remote preparation 257 

b. Immediate preparation 259 

c. Doing my liturgical work 262 

4. Custody of the heart. The keystone of the interior life, 

hence essential to the apostolate 267 

Resolution: purity of intention 267 

I. The need for self-custody 272 

II. Practice of the presence of God 274 

III. Self-custody aided by devotion to Our Lady .... 275 

IV. Learning self-custody 2 76 

V. Self-custody: under what conditions? 279 

5. The apostle must have an ardent devotion to Mary . . 281 

a . For his personal life 283 

b. For an effective Apostolate 286 

Epiplogue 290 

Appendix : Ten Aids to Mental Prayer 292 


The Soul of the Apostolate 





O God, infinitely good and great, wonderful in- 
deed are the truths that faith lays open to us, con- 
cerning the life which Thou leadest within Thyself: 
and these truths dazzle us. 

Father all holy, Thou dost contemplate Thyself 
forever in the Word, Thy perfect image — Thy 
Word exults in rapt joy at Thy beauty — and, 
Father and Son, from Your joint ecstasy, leaps forth 
the strong flame of love, the Holy Spirit. 

You alone, O adorable Trinity, are the interior 
life, perfect, superabundant, and infinite. 

Goodness unlimited, You desire to spread this, 
Your own inner life, everywhere, outside Yourself. 
You speak: and Your works spring forth out of 
nothingness, to declare Your perfections and to sing 
Your glory. 

Between You and the dust quickened by Your 
breath, there is a deep abyss: and this, Your Holy 
Spirit wishes to bridge. Thus He will find a way of 
satisfying His immense need to love, to give Himself. 

And therefore He calls forth, from Your bosom, 
the decree that we become divine. Wonder of won- 
ders! This clay, fashioned by Your hands, will have 
the power to be deified, and share in Your eternal 

1 Liturgy. Fifth antiphon of Matins for the Feast of the 
Most Holy Trinity — Quoted from I Cor. viii :6. 


Your Word offers Himself for the fulfillment of 
this work. 

And He is made flesh, that we may become gods . 2 

And yet, O Word, Thou hast not left the bosom 
of Thy Father. It is there that Thy essential life 
subsists, and it is from this source that the marvels 
of Thy apostolate are to flow. 

O Jesus, Emmanuel, Thou dost hand over to Thy 
apostles Thy Gospel, Thy Cross, Thy Eucharist, and 
givest them the mission to go forth and beget for 
Thy Father, sons of adoption. 

And then Thou dost return, ascending, to Thy 

Thine, henceforth, O Holy Spirit, is the care of 
sanctifying and directing the Mystical Body of the 
God-man . 3 

Thou deignest to take unto Thyself fellow-work- 
ers, in Thy function of bringing, from the Head, 
divine life into the members. 

Burning with Pentecostal fires, they will go forth 
to sow broadcast in the minds of all, the word that 
enlightens, and in all hearts the grace that enkindles. 
Thus will they impart to men that divine life of 
which Thou art the fullness. 

* * 

O Divine Fire, stir up in all those who have part 
in Thy apostolate, the flames that transformed those 
fortunate retreatments in the Upper Room. Then 
they will be no longer mere preachers of dogma or 
moral theology, but men living to transfuse the 
Blood of God into the souls of men. 

2 Factus est homo at homo fieret dens (St. Augustine, 
Serm. 2 de Nativ.). 

3 Deus, cujus Spiritu totum corpus sanctificatur et regitur. 



Spirit of Light, imprint upon their minds, in char- 
acters that can never be erased, this truth: that their 
apostolate will be successful only in the measure that 
they themselves live that supernatural inner life of 
which Thou art the sovereign PRINCIPLE and Jesus 
Christ the SOURCE. 

O infinite Charity, make their wills burn with 
thirst for the interior life. Penetrate and flood their 
hearts with Thy sweetness and strength, and show 
them that, even here on this earth, there is no real 
happiness except in this life of imitation and sharing 
in Thine own life and in that of the Heart of Jesus 
in the bosom of the Father of all mercy and all 

# * 

O Mary Immaculate, Queen of apostles, deign to 
bless these simple pages. Grant that all who read 
them may really understand that, if it please God to 
use their activity as an ordinary instrument of His 
Providence, in pouring out His heavenly riches upon 
the souls of men, this activity, if it is to produce any 
results, will have to participate, somehow, in the na- 
ture of the Divine Act as Thou didst behold it in the 
bosom of God when He, to Whom we owe the 
power of calling thee our Mother, became incarnate 
in the virginal womb. 



1. God Wants Good Works and, Therefore, He 

Wants Zealous Action 

Sovereign liberality is inseparable from the divine 
Nature. God is infinite goodness. Goodness seeks 
nothing except to give itself and to communicate the 
riches which it enjoys. 

The mortal life of Our Lord was nothing else but 
a continual manifestation of this inexhaustible liber- 
ality. The Gospel shows us the Redeemer scattering 
along His way the treasures of love of a Heart eager 
to draw all men to truth and to life. 

This apostolic flame has been passed on by Jesus to 
His Church, which is the gift of His love, which dif- 
fuses His life, manifests His truth, and shines w'ith 
the splendor of His sanctity. Burning with the self- 
same love, the Mystic Spouse of Christ carries on, 
down through the ages, the apostolic work of her 
divine Model. 

How admirable the plan, the universal law laid 
down by Providence, that it is through men, that men 
are to find out the w r ay to salvation . 1 Jesus Christ 
alone has shed the Blood that redeems the world. 
Alone, too, He might have put its power to work, 
and acted upon souls directly, as He does in the Holy 
Eucharist. But He wanted to have others co-operate 

1 Ad communem legem id pertinet qua Deus providentis- 
simus, uti homines plerumque fere per homines salvandos 
decrevit . . . ut nimirum, quemadmodum Chrysostomus ait, 
per homines, a Deo discamus. (Letter of Pope Leo XIII to 
Cardinal Gibbons, January 22, 1899.) 



in the distribution of His graces. Why? No doubt 
His divine Majesty demanded that it be so, but His 
loving affection for men urged Him no less. And if 
it is seemly for the most exalted king to govern, 
more often than not, through ministers, what con- 
descension it is for God to deign to give poor crea- 
tures a share in His work and in His glory! 

Born, upon the Cross, from the pierced side of the 
Savior, the Church, by its apostolic ministry, carries 
on the bountiful and redeeming action of the man- 
God. This ministry, willed by Jesus Christ, becomes 
the essential factor in the diffusion of the Church 
among all nations, and the ordinary instrument of 
its great achievements. 

In the front rank of this apostolate, stands the 
clergy, with its hierarchy forming the main body of 
the army of Christ, a clergy distinguished by so many 
holy, zealous bishops and priests, and covered with 
honor and glory by the recent canonization of the 
saint who was Cure of Ars. 

Next to the official clergy, have risen, since the 
beginnings of Christianity, companies of volunteers, 
shock-troops, whose continued and abundant growth 
will always be one of the clearest signs of the vitality 
of the Church. 

First of all, in the earliest centuries, came the con- 
templative orders, whose ceaseless prayer and fierce 
penances were such a powerful aid in the conversion 
of the pagan world. In the Middle Ages, the preach- 
ing orders sprang up, with the mendicant and mili- 
tary orders, and those vowed to the ransom of cap- 
tives in the powers of infidels. Finally, modern times 
have seen the birth of crowds of teaching institutes, 
missionary societies, congregations of all sorts, whose 
mission is to spread abroad every kind of spiritual 
and material good. 



Then, too, at every stage of her history, the Church 
has received valuable help from the whole body of 
the faithful, like those fervent Catholics, whose name 
today is legion, tireless workers, ardent souls who 
know how to unite their forces and to devote, with- 
out stint, to the cause of our common mother, their 
time, abilities, and fortune, often sacrificing their lib- 
erty or their very lives. 

A wonderful and encouraging sight, indeed, this 
providential harvest of works springing up just when 
they are most needed and in precisely the way that 
the situation seems to demand! Church history clear- 
ly proves that each new need, each new emergency 
to be faced, has invariably meant the appearance of 
the institution that the circumstances required. 

And so, in our own day, we see a multitude of 
works that were scarcely even heard of, a generation 
ago, rise up in opposition to evils of the most serious 
kind: Catechism classes for first communicants and 
converts, as well as for abandoned children, all types 
of Catholic societies, sodalities, and confraternities, 
laymen’s retreats for young and old of both sexes, 
Apostleship of Prayer, the Work of the Propagation 
of the Faith, Catholic action in student and military 
circles, Catholic press association and other works 
of both general and local usefulness. All these forms 
of apostolate are called into being by the spirit that 
burned in the soul of St. Paul: "But I most gladly 
will spend and be spent for your souls,” 2 the spirit 
that wishes to spread abroad, everywhere, the bene- 
fits of the Blood of Christ. 

May these humble pages go out to the soldiers of 
Christ, who, consumed as they are with zeal and ar- 
dor for their noble mission, might be exposed, be- 

2 Ego autem libentissime tm pendant ct supcrimpcndar ipse 
pro antmabus vestris (II Cor. xii:l5). 



cause of the very activity they display, to the danger 
of not being, above all, men of interior life! For such 
men, when the day comes for this deficiency in their 
lives, to be punished, by failures no one seems able 
to explain and by serious spiritual collapse, may well 
be tempted to give up the fight and retire, in discour- 
agement, behind the lines. 

The thoughts developed in this book have helped 
us, ourselves, to fight against an excessive exteriori- 
zation through good works. May they help others, 
also, to escape such a mishap, and lead the stream of 
their courageous action into better channels. May 
they show that we must never leave the God of 
works, for the works of God, and that St. Paul’s: 
"Woe unto me if I preach not the Gospel” 3 does not 
entitle us to forget: "What does it profit: a man, if he 
gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own 
soul?” 4 

May these modest pages also reach those fathers 
and mothers of families who do not consider the In- 
troduction to the Devout Life out of date, Christian 
husbands and wives who feel obligated to an aposto- 
late towards one another as well as towards their chil- 
dren, in order to form them in the love and imitation 
of the Savior. For then they will better understand 
the need not only of a pious, but of an interior life, if 
their zeal is to have any success, and if they are to 
fill their homes with the unction of the spirit of 
Jesus Christ, and with that unchanging peace which 
in the face of every trial will always be a character- 
istic of the truly Christian family. 

3 V ae mihi si non cvangclizavero (I Cor. ix:16). 

4 Quid prodest homini si mundum universum lucretur . 
animae vcro suae detrimentum patiatur? (Matt. xvi:26). 


2. God Wills That the Life-Principle of Our Work 
Be Christ Himself 

Science is proud of its immense success, and justly 
so. And yet there is one thing which always has 
been, and always will be, impossible to it: to create 
life, to produce, from a chemical laboratory, a grain 
of corn, a larva. The wholesale discomfiture of the 
defenders of spontaneous generation shows us, clear- 
ly enough, how little there is in these claims. God 
reserves for Himself the power of creating life. 

In the vegetable and animal order, living beings 
can grow and multiply: but still, their fecundity only 
operates under definite conditions laid down by the 
Creator. But as soon as there is question of intellec- 
tual life, God reserves this to Himself, and He is 
the One who directly creates the reasoning soul. And 
yet there is one other realm which he guards even 
more jealously still, that of Supernatural life, which 
flows from the divine life communicated to the hu- 
manity of the Incarnate Word. 

Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum. Per 
Ipsum et cum Ipso et in Ipso. 6 

The Incarnation and Redemption establish Jesus 
as the Source, and the only Source, of this divine life 
which all men are called upon to share. The essen- 
tial activity of the Church consists in spreading this 
life through the Sacraments, Prayer, Preaching, and 
all other works connected with these. 

God does nothing except through His Son. "All 
things were made by Him and without Him was 
nothing made that was made.” True as this is in 
the natural order, how much more so is it in the 
supernatural order, when it is a question of imparting 

5 Liturgy. 

6 Omnia per Ipsum facta sunt, et sine Ipso factum est 
nihil quod factum est (Joan. i:3). 


His inner life, and causing men to share in His own 
nature, making them children of God. 

"I am come that they may have life. In Him was 
life. I am the life.” 7 What precision there is in 
these words! And what light, in the parable of the 
vine and the branches, in which the Master develops 
this truth! With what insistence he strives to im- 
press upon the minds of the Apostles the fundamental 
principle that HE ALONE, JESUS, IS THE LIFE, 
and the consequence that, in order to share in that 
life and communicate it to others, they must be graft- 
ed on to the God-man. 

Men, called to the honor of working with the 
Savior in transmitting this divine life to souls, ought 
to consider themselves mere channels, whose func- 
tion it is to draw from this one and only source. 

Failure, on the part of the apostle, to realize this 
principle, and the illusion that he could produce the 
slightest trace of supernatural life without borrow- 
ing every bit of it from Jesus Christ, would lead us 
to believe that his ignorance of theology was equaled 
only by his stupid self-conceit. 

If the apostle, while recognizing in theory that the 
Redeemer is the primary cause of all divine life, were 
to forget this truth in his actions and, blinded by in- 
sane presumption, were to insult Jesus Christ by 
relying on his own powers, it would be a lesser dis- 
order than the preceding, but one just as insufferable 
in the sight of God. 

To reject the truth, or to ignore it in one’s actions, 
always constitutes an intellectual disorder in doctrine 
or in practice. It is the denial of a principle on which 
our conduct ought to be based. Obviously, the dis- 
order will be still further aggravated if the clear light 

7 Veni ut vitam habeant. In Ipso vita crat. Ego sum 
vita (Joan. x:10; i:4; xiv:6). 



of truth is obscured and obstructed, in the heart of 
the active laborer, by his opposition, through sin or 
voluntary lukewarmness, to the God of all light. 

Now for a man, in his practical conduct, to go 
about his active works as if Jesus were not his one end 
only life-principle, is what Cardinal Mermillod has 
called the "HERESY OF GOOD WORKS.” He 
uses this expression to stigmatize the apostle who so 
far forgets himself as to overlook his secondary and 
subordinate role, and look only to his own personal 
activity and talents as a basic for apostolic success. 
Is this not, in practice, a denial of a great part of the 
Tract on Grace? This conclusion is one that appalls 
us, at first sight. And yet a little thought will show 
us that it is only too true. 

Heresy in Good Works! Feverish activity tak- 
ing the place of God; grace ignored; human pride try- 
ing to thrust Jesus from His throne; supernatural life, 
the power of prayer, the economy of our redemption 
relegated, at least in practice, to the realm of pure 
theory: all this portrays no merely imaginary situa- 
tion, but one which the diagnosis of souls shows to be 
very common though in various degrees, in this age 
of naturalism, when men judge, above all, by ap- 
pearances, and act as though success were primarily 
a matter of skillful organization. 

Even setting aside revelation altogether, the plain 
light of sane philosophy makes it impossible for us 
not to pity a man who, for all his remarkable gifts, 
refuses to recognize God as the principle of the mar- 
velous talents that all observe in him. 

What would be the feelings of a Catholic, thor- 
oughly instructed in his religion, at the sight of 
an apostle who would boast, at least implicitly, that 
he could do without God in communicating to souls 
even the smallest degree of divine life? 



"He is crazy! ” we would say, if we heard an apos- 
tolic worker using such words as these: "My God, 
just do not raise any obstacle to my work, just keep 
out of my way, and I guarantee to produce the best 

Our feelings would be a mere reflection of the 
aversion excited in God by the spectacle of such dis- 
order: by the spectacle of presumption carrying its 
pride to such limits as to wish to impart supernatural 
life, to produce faith, to put an end to sin, incite men 
to virtue, and without attributing these effects to 
the direct, unfailing, universal, and overwhelming 
action of the Blood of God, the price, the cause, and 
the means of all grace and of all spritual life. 

Therefore, God owes it to the Humanity of His 
Son to make fools of these false Christs by paralyzing 
the works of their pride, or by allowing them to pass 
away as a momentary mirage. 

Setting aside everything that works upon souls ex 
opere operato, God owes it to the Redeemer to with- 
draw from the apostle who is inflated with his own 
importance, all His best gifts, and to reserve these 
for the branch that humbly recognizes that all its 
life-sap comes from the Divine stock. 

Otherwise, if He were to bless with deep and last- 
ing results the work filled with the poison of this 
virus we have called the Heresy of Good Works God 
might seem to be encouraging this abuse and favor- 
ings its contagious spread. 

3. What Is the Interior Life? 

In this book the words life of prayer, contemplative 
life will be applied, as they are in the Imitation of 
Christ to the state of those souls who have dedicated 
themselves to a Christian life which is at the same 



time out of the common, and accessible to all, and, 
in substance, obligatory for all . 8 

Without embarking upon a study of asceticism, let 
us at least remind the reader that EVERYONE is 
obliged to accept the following principles as absolute- 
ly certain, and base his inner life upon them. 

First Truth. Supernatural life is the life of Jesus 
Christ Himself in my soul, by Faith, Hope, and Char- 
ity; for Jesus is the meritorious, exemplary, and final 
cause of sanctifying grace, and, as Word, with the 
Father and the Holy Ghost, He is its efficient cause in 
our souls. 

The presence of Our Lord by this supernatural life 
is not the real presence proper to Holy Communion, 
but a presence of vital action like that of the action 
of the head or heart upon the members of the body. 
This action lies deep within us, and God ordinarily 
hides it from the soul in order to increase the merit 
of our faith. And so, as a rule, my natural faculties 
have no feeling of this action going on within me, 
which, however, I am formally obliged to believe by 
faith. This action is divine, yet it does not interfere 
with my free will, and makes use of all secondary 
causes, events, persons, and things, to teach me the 
will of God and to offer me an opportunity of ac- 
quiring or increasing my share in the divine life. 

This life, begun in Baptism by the state of grace, 
perfected at Confirmation, recovered by Penance and 
enriched by the Holy Eucharist, is my Christian life. 

Second Truth. By this life, Jesus Christ im- 
parts to me His Spirit. In this way, He becomes 

8 Although we are not here concerned with the phenom- 
ena that accompany certain extraordinary states of union 
with God, we are firmly persuaded that God, quite apart 
from such phenomena, frequently grants special graces of 
prayer to generous souls who thirst after a life of intimacy 
with Him. 



the principle of a superior activity which raises me 
up, provided I do not obstruct it, to think, judge, 
love, will, suffer, labor with Him, by Him, in Him, 
and like Him. My outward acts become the mani- 
festations of this life of Jesus in me. And thus I tend 
to realize the ideal of the INTERIOR LIFE that was 
formulated by St. Paul when he said: "I live, now 
not I, but Christ liveth in me.” 

Christian life, piety, interior life, sanctity: in all 
these we find no essential difference. They are only 
different degrees of one and the same love. They are 
the half-light, the dawning, the rising, and the zenith 
of the same sun. 

Whenever the expression " interior life" is used in 
this book, the reference is not so much to habitual 
interior life, which we may call the "principal” or 
"capital” of the divine life deposited in us, by sanc- 
tifying grace, as to the actual interior life, which in- 
vests this capital and puts it to work in the activity 
of our soul, and in our fidelity to actual graces. 

Thus I can define it as the state of activity of a soul 
which strives against its natural inclinations in order 
to REGULATE them, and endeavors to acquire the 
HABIT of judging and directing its movements IN 
ALL THINGS according to the light of the Gospel 
and the example of Our Lord. 

Hence: a twofold movement. By the first, the soul 
withdraws from all that is opposed to the super- 
natural life in created things, and seeks at all times 
to be recollected: aversio a creaturis. By the second, 
the soul tends upwards to God, and unites itself with 
Him: conversio ad Deum. 

The soul wishes in this way to be faithful to the 
grace which Our Lord offers to it at every moment. 
In a word, it lives, united to Jesus, and carries out in 



actuality the principle: "He that liveth in Me, and I 
in him, the same beareth much fruit.” u 

Third Truth. I would be depriving myself of 
one of the most effective means of acquiring this in- 
terior life if I failed to strive after a precise and cer- 
tain faith in the active presence of Jesus within me, 
and if I did not try to make this presence within me, 
not merely a living, but an extremely vital reality, 
and one which pentrated more and more into all the 
life of my faculties. When Jesus, in this manner, 
becomes my light, my ideal, my counsel, my support, 
my refuge, my strength, my healer, my consolation, 
my joy, my love, in a word, my life, I shall acquire 
alii the virtues. Then alone will I be able to utter, 
with sincerity, the wonderful prayer of St. Bona- 
venture which the Church gives me for my thanks- 
giving after Mass: Trans fige dulcissime Do mine Jesu. 

Fourth Truth. In proportion to the intensity 
of my love for God, my supernatural life may in- 
crease at every moment by a new infusion of the 
grace of the active presence of Jesus in me; an in- 
fusion produced: 

1 . By each meritorious act ( virtue, work, suffering 
under all its varying forms, such as privation of crea- 
tures, physical or moral pain, humiliation, self-denial; 
prayer, Mass, acts of devotion to Our Lady, etc. ) . 

2. By the Sacraments especially the Eucharist. 

It is certain, then (and here is a consequence that 
overwhelms me with its sublimity and its depth, but 
above all, fills me with courage and with joy), it is 
certain that, by every event, person or thing, Thou. 
Jesus, Thou Thyself, dost present Thyself, objective- 
ly, to me, at every instant of the day. Thou dost 

9 Qui Vianet in Me et Ego in eo, hie fert fructum mul- 
tum (Joan. xv:5). 



hide Thy wisdom and Thy love beneath these appear- 
ances and dost request my co-operation to increase 
Tby life in myself. 

O my soul, at every instant Jesus presents Him- 
self to you by the GRACE OF THE PRESENT 
MOMENT — every time there is a prayer to say, a 
Mass to celebrate or to hear, reading to be done, or 
acts of patience, of zeal, of renunciation, of struggle, 
confidence, or love to be produced. Would you dare 
look the other way, or try to avoid His gaze? 

Fifth Truth. The triple concupiscence caused 
by original sin and increased by every one of my 
actual sins establishes elements of death that militate 
against the life of Jesus in me. Now in exact pro- 
portion as these elements develop in me, they dimin- 
ish the exercise of that life. Alas! They may even 
go so far as to destroy it outright. 

Nevertheless, inclinations and feelings contrary to 
that life, and temptations, even violent and prolonged 
can do it no harm whatever as long as my will resists 
them. And then (what a consoling truth!) like any 
other elements in the spiritual combat, they serve 
only to augment that life, in proportion to my own 

Sixth Truth. If I am not faithful in the use of 
certain means, my intelligence will become blind and 
my will too weak to co-operate with Jesus in the in- 
crease, or even in the maintenance of His life in me. 
And the result will be a progressive diminution of 
that life: I shall find myself slipping into tepidity of 
the will. U) Through dissipation, cowardice, self- 

10 This tepidity is clearly distinct from the dryness and 
even disgust which fervent souls experience in spite of them- 
selves. For in that case, no sooner are the venial faults 
that escape us, through weakness committed, than we fight 
hack, and detest them, and consequently show no evidence 
of tepidity of the will. 



delusion, or blindness, I tend to compromise with 
venial sin. But therefore my whole salvation is in 
danger, since I am paving the way to mortal sin. 

Were I to have the misfortune to fall into this 
tepidity (and a fortiori if I were to go lower still), 
I would have to make every effort to get out of it. 
1. I would have to revive the fear of God in my soul 
by imagining myself, as vividly as possible, face to 
face with my last end, with death, wdth the judgment 
of God, with hell, eternity, sin, and so forth. 2. And 
to revive compunction by the sweet science of Thy 
wounds, O my merciful Redeemer. Going, in spirit, 
to Calvary, I would throw myself down at Thy holy 
feet and let Thy living Blood run down upon my 
head and heart to wash aw 7 ay my blindness, melt the 
ice in my soul, and drive aw'ay the torpor of my will. 

Seventh Truth. I must seriously fear that I 
do not have the degree of interior life ■ that Jesus 
demands of me: 

1. If I cease to increase my thirst to live in Jesus, 
that thirst which gives me both the desire to please 
God in all things, and the fear of displeasing Him 
in any way whatever. But I necessarily cease to in- 
crease this thirst if I no longer make use of the means 
for doing so: morning mental-prayer, Mass, Sacra- 

But the soul that is poisoned with this kind of tepidity 
manifests two opposing wills : one good, the other bad. One 
hot, the other cold. On one hand, it wants salvation, and 
therefore it avoids evident mortal sin ; on the other hand 
it does not want what is demanded by the love of God. On 
the contrary, it wants all the comforts of a free and easy 
life, and that is why it allows itself to commit deliberate 
venial sins. 

When this tepidity is not resisted , the very fact goes to 
show that there is in the soul a partial, though not total, 
bad will. That is to say. one part of the will says to God : 
“On such and such a point I do not want to cease displeas- 
ing You.” (Father Desurmount, C.SS.R., I.e Retour Con- 
tinuel a Dieu.) 



merits, and Office, general and particular examina- 
tions of conscience, and spiritual reading; or if, while 
not altogether abandoning them, I draw no profit 
from them, through my own fault. 

2. If I do not have that minimum of recollection 
which will allow me, during my work, to watch over 
my heart and keep it pure and generous enough not 
to silence the voice of Our Lord when He warns me 
of the elements of death, as soon as they show them- 
selves, and urges me to fight them. Now I cannot 
possibly retain this minimum if I make no use of the 
means that will secure it: liturgical life, aspirations, 
especially in the form of supplication, spiritual com- 
munion, practice of the presence of God, and so on. 

Without this, my life will soon be crawling with 
venial sins, perhaps without my being aware of it, 
self-delusion will throw up the smoke screen of a 
seeming piety that is more speculative than practical, 
or of my ambition for good works, to hide this state 
from me, or even to conceal a condition more appall- 
ing still! And yet my blindness will be imputed to 
me as sin since, by failing to foster the recollection 
indispensable to it, I shall have fomented and en- 
couraged its very cause. 

Eighth Truth. My interior life will be no better 
than my custody of my heart. "Before all things 
keep a guard over thy heart, for from it springs forth 
life’’ 11 

This custody of the heart is simply a HABITUAL 
or at least frequent anxiety to preserve all my acts, 
as they arise, from everything that might spoil their 
motive or their execution. 

It is a peaceful, unexcited anxiety, without any 

11 Omni custodia serva cor tuum, quia ex ipso vita pro - 
cedit (Prow i v:23). 



trace of strain, yet powerful because it is based on 
childlike confidence in God. 

It is the work of the heart and the will, rather 
than of the mind, which has to remain free to carry 
out its duties. Far from being an impediment to ac- 
tivity, the custody of the heart perfects it, by order- 
ing it to the Spirit of God, and adjusting it to the 
duties of our state of life. 

It is an exercise that can be carried on at any hour. 
It is a quick glance, from the heart, over present 
actions and a peaceful attention to all the various 
phases of an acion, as we perform it. It is carrying 
out exactly the precept, Age quod agis.” The soul, 
like an alert sentry, keeps watch over every move- 
ment of its heart, over everything that is going on 
within it: all its impressions, intentions, passions, 
inclinations; in a word, all its interior and exterior 
acts, all its thoughts, words, and deeds. 

Custody of the heart demands a certain amount of 
recollection: there is no place for it in a soul given 
to dissipation. 

By frequently following this practice, we will 
gradually acquire the habit of it. 

Quo vadam et ad quid? Where am I going and 
why? What would Jesus do? How would He act 
in my place? What advice would He give me? 
What does He want from me, at this moment? Such 
are the questions that spring up spontaneously in the 
soul that is hungry for interior life. 

For the soul that goes to Jesus through Mary, 
this custody of the heart takes on a still more affec- 
tionate quality, and recourse to this dear Mother 
becomes a continual need for his heart. 

Ninth Truth. Jesus Christ reigns in a soul that 
aspires to imitate Him seriously, wholly, lovingly. 
This imitation has two degrees: 1. The soul strives 


to become indifferent to creatures, considered in 
themselves whether they suit its tastes or not. Fol- 
lowing the example of Jesus, it seeks no other rule, in 
this, but the will of God: "I came down from heaven 
not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent 
me.” '■ 2. The soul shows more readiness in doing 
things that are contrary to its nature, and repugant 
to it. And thus it carries out the agendo contra that 
St. Ignatius speaks of in his famous meditation on the 
reign of Christ. It is acting against natural inclina- 
tion in order to tend, by preference, to what imitates 
the poverty of the Savior, and His love for sufferings 
and humiliations. "For Christ did not please Him- 
self.” 13 

Following the expression of St. Paul, the soul then 
truly knows our Lord: "You have learned Christ.” 14 

Tenth Truth. No matter what my condition 
may be, if I am only willing to pray and become 
faithful to grace, Jesus offers me every means of re- 
turning to an inner life that will restore to me my 
intimacy with Him, and will enable me to develop 
His life in myself. And then, as this life gains ground 
within me, my soul will not cease to possess joy, even 
in the thick of trials, and the words of Isaias will be 
fufilled in me: "Then shall thy light break forth 
as the morning, and thy health shall speedily arise, 
and thy justice shall go before thy face, and the glory 
of the Lord shall gather thee up. Thou shalt call, 
and the Lord shall hear, thou shalt cry and He shall 
say: 'Here I am.’ And the Lord will give thee rest 
continually, and will fill thy soul with brightness and 
will deliver thy bones, and thou shalt be like a 

52 Dcscendi dc coclo non ut faciam voluntatcm mram scd 
ejus out inisit me (Joan, vi : 38) . 

13 Christus non sibi placuit (Rom. xv:3). 

14 Didicist’s Christum (Ephes. iv:20). 



watered garden, and like a fountain of water whose 
waters do not fail.” 15 

Eleventh Truth. If God calls me to apply my 
activity not only to my own sanctification, but also 
to good works, I must establish this firm conviction, 
before everything else, in my mind: Jesus has got to 
be, and wishes to be, the life of these works. 

My efforts, by themselves, are nothing, absolutely 
nothing. "Without Me you can do nothing.” 16 They 
will only be useful, and blessed by God, if by means 
of a genuine interior life I unite them constantly to 
the lifegiving action of Jesus. But then they will be- 
come all-powerful: "I can do all things in Him who 
strengtheneth me.” 17 But should they spring from 
pride and self-satisfaction, from confidence in my 
own talents, from the desire to shine, they will be re- 
jected by God: for would it not be a sacrilegious 
madness for me to steal, from God, a little of His 
glory in order to decorate and beautify myself? 

This conviction, far from robbing me of all initia- 
tive, will be my strength. And it will make me 
really feel the need to pray that I may obtain 
humility, w'hich is such a treasure for my soul, since 
it is a guarantee of God’s help and of success in my 

Once I am really convinced of the importance of 
this principle, I will make a serious examination of 
myself, when I am on retreat, to find out: 1, if my 
conviction of the nothingness of my own activity, 
left to itself, and of its power when united to that 
of Tesus, is not getting a little tarnished; 2, if I am 
ruthless in stamping out all self-satisfaction and 
vanity, all self-admiration in my apostolate; 3, if I 

,!i Ts lviii :8. 9. 11. 

Sine me nihil potcstis faccre (Joan. xv:5). 

17 Omnia possum in eo qui me confortat (Phil, iv : 1 3 ) . 



continue unwaveringly to distrust myself; 4, and 
it I am praying to God to preserve me from pride, 
which is the first and foremost obstacle to His assist- 

This Credo of the interior life, once it has become 
for my soul the whole foundation of its existence, 
guarantees to it, even here below, a participation in 
the joys of heaven. 

The interior life is the life of the elect. 

It fits in with the end God had in view when He 
created us.’ s 

It answers the end of the Incarnation: "God sent 
His only begotten Son into the world that we may 
live by Him.” 19 

It is a state of complete happiness: "The end of 
human creatures is union with God; and in this their 
happiness consists.” 20 In this happiness, if thorns 
are seen from the outside, yet roses bloom within: 
but with the joys of the world it is just the reverse. 
"How pitiable they are, the poor people out in the 
world,” the Cure of Ars used to say, "they wear, over 
their shoulders, a mantle lined with thorns; they 
cannot make a move without being pierced. But true 
Christians have a mantle lined with soft fur.” 
Crucem vident, unuctionern non videntr 1 

18 Ad contcmplandiun quippe Creatorem smart homo con- 
ditus fuerat ut cjus spccicm quaereret atque in soliditate 
muoris illius habitarct (St. Gregory the Great, Moralia, 
viii, 12). 

Man was created for the contemplation of his Creator, 
in order that he might ever seek the vision of Him and 
dwell in the stability of His love. 

19 F ilium suian unigcnitum Dcus misit in mundum ut 
vivamus per eum (I Joan. iv:9). 

20 Finis humanae creaturae cst adhacrcre Deo: in hoc 
enitn felieitas ejits consistit (St. Thomas Aquinas). 

21 They see the cross, but do not see the consolations. 
(Said by St. Bernard, of those who took scandal at the 
austerity of the Cistercian life). 



Heavenly state! The soul becomes a living 

Then, like St. Margaret Mary, it can sing: 

Je possede en tout temps et je porte en tout lieu 

Et le Dieu de mon coeur et le Coeur de mon Dieu. 

(I ever possess, and take with me everywhere, the 
God of my heart and the Heart of my God.) It is the 
beginning of eternal bliss, Inchoatio quaedam beati- 

Grace is the seed of Heaven. 

4. Ignorance and Neglect of This Interior Life 

St. Gregory the Great, who was as skillful an ad- 
ministrator and as zealous an apostle as he was great 
in contemplation, sums up in two words, Securn 
vivebat (He lived with himself), the state of soul 
of St. Benedict, when, at Subiaco, he was laying the 
foundation for that Rule which was to become one 
of the most powerful apostolic instruments God has 
ever used upon this earth. 

But we are forced to say exactly the contrary of 
the great majority of our contemporaries. To live 
with oneself, within oneself; to desire self-control, 
and not allow oneself to be dominated by exterior 
things; to reduce the imagination, the feelings, and 
even the intelligence and memory to the position of 
servants of the will and to make this will conform, 

22 Semper memineris Dei, et coelum mens tua evadit. 
(St. Ephrem). Ever be mindful of God, and your mind 
will become His heaven. 

Mens animae paradisas est, in qua, dum coelestia medita- 
tur quasi in paradiso voluptatis delectatur (Hugh of St. 
Victor). The mind is the paradise of the soul, wherein, 
while it meditates upon heavenly things, it rejoices as though 
in a paradise of delights. 

23 St. Thomas Aquinas. 2a 2ae, q. 180, a. 4. 



without ceasing, with the will of God: all this is a 
program that is less and less welcome to a century of 
excitement that has seen the birth of a new ideal: 
the lore of action for action's sake. 

Any pretext will serve, if we can only escape this 
discipline of our faculties: business, family problems, 
health, good reputation, patriotism, the honor of 
one’s congregation, and the pretended glory of God, 
all vie with one another in preventing us from living 
within ourselves. This sort of frertzy for exterior life 
finally succeeds in gaining over us an attraction 
which we can no longer resist. 

Is there any reason to be surprised, then, that the 
interior life is neglected? 

"Neglected” is putting it mildly. It is often enough 
despised and turned to ridicule by the very people 
who ought to be the first to appreciate its advantages 
and its necessity. This situation even called forth the 
celebrated letter of Leo XIII to Cardinal Gibbons , 24 
in protest against the disastrous consequences of an 
exclusive admiration for active works. 

Priests are so anxious to avoid the effort required 
to live an interior life that they reach the point of 
overlooking the value of living with Christ, in Christ 
and through Christ, and of forgetting that every- 
thing, in the plan of Redemption, is based on the 
Eucharistic life as much as it is upon the rock of 
Peter. The unconscious preoccupation of these parti- 
sans of a spirituality that is all noise and fanfare, is 
to thrust what is essential into the background. True, 
the Church has not yet become for them a Protestant 
chapel; the Tabernacle is not yet empty. But in their 

24 The Apostolical Letter Testem Benevolentiae, Jan- 
uary 22, 1899, addressed to his Eminence Cardinal Gibbons, 
Archbishop of Baltimore, on “True and False Americanism 
in Religion.” 



eyes, the Eucharistic life can hardly be adapted to 
the needs of modern civilization, still less can it suf- 
lice for its needs. The interior life, which is a neces- 
sary consequence of the Eucharistic life, has had its 

For the people steeped in these theories, and their 
number is legion, Holy Communion has lost the true 
meaning which the early Christians were able to see 
in it. They believe in the Eucharist, yes; but they no 
longer see in it something absolutely necessary, both 
to their works and to themselves. We must not be 
astonished, then, that since they have lost nearly all 
ability to converse intimately with Jesus in the 
Blessed Sacrament, as with a friend, they have come 
to consider the interior life as a memory of the Mid- 
dle Ages. 

To tell the truth, to hear these mighty men of 
works talking about their exploits, one might 
imagine that God Almighty, to Whom it is child’s 
play to create worlds, and before Whom the universe 
is dust and nothingness, cannot get along without 
their cooperation. Imperceptibly, a number of the 
faithful, and even of priests and religious, follow this 
cult of action to the point of making it a kind of 
dogma which inspires their attitude and all their 
actions, and leads them to throw themselves without 
restraint into a life of extroversion. "The Church, 
the diocese, the parish, the congregation, the work 
has need of me,” we can almost hear them say, '’God 
finds me pretty useful.” And if no one dares come 
right out with such a piece of stupidity, nevertheless 
there exists, deep down in the heart, the presump- 
tion on which it is based and the lack of faith which 
fomented it. 

Neurasthenics are often ordered to give up all 
work, and to do so for long periods at a time. The 



remedy is, to them, unbearable, precisely because 
their sickness keeps them in a state of feverish ex- 
citement, which, having become a sort of second 
nature, drive them mercilessly on to pour out their 
energy and their motions and thus to aggravate 
their disease. 

That is how it often is with the man of active 
works, when he has to consider the interior life. He 
disdains, or, rather, he detests it all the more because 
it is the only remedy to his morbid state. Rather 
than live a life of prayer he will do his best to 
stupefy himself under an ever-increasing avalanche 
of badly managed enterprises, and thus to set aside 
all hope of cure. 

Full steam ahead! And while the helmsman is 
admiring the rapidity of his progress, God sees that, 
since the pilot does not know his job, the ship is off 
the course and is in danger of being wrecked. What 
Our Lord is looking for, above all, is adorers in spirit 
and in truth. But these activistic heretics, for their 
part, imagine that they are giving greater glory to 
God in aiming above all at exernal results. 

This state of mind is the explanation why, in our 
day, in spite of the appreciation still shown for 
schools, dispensaries, missions, and hospitals, devo- 
tion to God in its interior form, by penance and 
prayer, is less and less understood. No longer able to 
believe in the value of immolation that nobody sees, 
your activist will not be content merely to treat as 
slackers and visionaries those who give themselves, 
in the cloister, to prayer and penance with an ardor 
for souls equal to that of the most tireless missionary; 
but he will also roar with laughter at those active 
workers who consider it indispensible to snatch a few 
minutes from even the most useful occupations, in 
order to go and purify and rekindle their energy 



before the Tabernacle and to obtain from its Divine 
Guest, better results for their work. 

5. Reply to a First Objection: Is the Interior Life 

This book is addressed to such active workers as 
are animated with a burning desire to spend them- 
selves, but who are liable to neglect the necessary 
measures to keep their devoted work fruitful for 
souls, without wreaking havoc on their own inner 

It is not our object to wake up those pretended 
apostles who make a fetish of repose; nor to galvan- 
ize those souls whose egotism deludes them into 
thinking that laziness will foster piety; nor to shake 
up the apathy of those lazy, sleepy drones who will 
accept certain works, in the hope of material ad- 
vantage or of honor provided their quietude and 
ideal of tranquillity are in no way disturbed. Such 
a task would require a special volume. 

Leaving to others, then, the job of bringing home 
to this apathetic brood the responsibilities of an 
existence that God willed to be active and which the 
devil, in collusion with nature, makes barren by in- 
action and lack of ambition, let us return to those 
beloved and respected colleagues for whom these 
pages are destined. 

There is no metaphor capable of giving any idea of 
the infinite intensity of the activity going on in the 
bosom of Almighty God. Such is the inner life of 
the Father, that it engenders a Divine Person. From 
the interior life of the Father and Son proceeds the 
Holy Ghost. 

The inner life that was communicated to the 
apostles in the Cenacle at once aroused them to 
zealous action. 



To anyone who knows anything about it and who 
does not contrive to disfigure the truth, this interior 
life is a principle of devoted and self-sacrificing 

But even if it did not reveal itself by outward 
manifestations, the life of prayer is, intimately and of 
itself, a source of activity beyond compare. Nothing 
could be more false than to consider it as a sort of 
oasis, offering itself as a refuge to those who want 
to let their life flow by in tranquil ease. The mere 
fact that it is the shortest road to the Kingdom of 
Heaven means that the text: "The Kingdom of 
Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it 
away,” 25 is applicable in a most special manner, to 
the life of prayer. 

Dom Sebastian Wyart 28 was familiar with the 
labors of the ascetic as well as with the trials of army 
life, the cares of the student, and the responsibilities 
inseparable from the office of a superior, and he used 
to say that there were three kinds of works: 

1. The almost exclusively physical work of those 
who live by manual labor, by a craft, or in the army. 
And he declares that, no matter what one may think 
about it, this kind of work is the easiest of the three. 

2. The intellectual toil of the scholar, the thinker, 
in his often arduous pursuit of truth; that of the 
writer, of the professor, who put everything they 
have into the effort to communicate all they know 

25 Regnum coclorum vim patitur , et violenti rapiunt Mud 
(Matt. xi:12). 

20 Having served as an officer in the Papal zouaves de- 
fending Rome under Pius IX, he made profession as a 
Trappist at N. D. du Mont, in northern France. When the 
various Trappist congregations were united as the Order of 
Cistercians of the Strict Observance, Fr. Sebastian was 
elected first Abbot-General of the Order, and held this posi- 
tion for twelve years until his death in 1904. 



to others; of the diplomat, the financier, the engineer 
and so on, as well as the intellectual labor required 
of a general during a battle if he is to foresee and 
direct everything and make the proper decisions. 
This labor in itself is, he said, far more difficult than 
the first kind, for there is a saying that "the blade 
wears out its sheath.” 

3. Finally, there is the labor of the interior life. 
And he did not hesitate to declare that of the three, 
this kind, when it is taken seriously, is by far the 
most exacting. 27 But at the same time, it is this 
kind that offers us the most satisfaction here on 
earth. It is likewise the most important. It goes 
to make up not so much a man’s profession as the 
man himself. How many there are who can boast 
of great courage in the first two types of labor, which 
lead to wealth and fame, but who, when it comes 
to the effort to acquire virtue, are totally deficient in 
ambition, energy, or courage. 

A man who is determined to acquire an interior 
life must take, for his ideal, unremitting domination 
of self and complete control over his environment, 
in order to act in all things solely for the glory of 
God. To achieve this aim, he must strive, under all 
circumstances, to keep united with Jesus Christ and 
thus to keep his eye on the end he has in view, and 
to evalute everything according to the standard of 
the Gospel. Quo vadam, et ad quid? he keeps say- 
ing, with St. Ignatius. 28 And so, everything in him, 
intelligence and will, as well as memory, feelings, 
imagination, and senses, depends on principle. But 

27 Major labor est resistere vitiis et passionibus qaam cor- 
poralibus insudare laboribus (St. Gregory the Great). Great- 
er effort is required to resist our vices and passions than to 
toil in manual labor. 

28 Where am I going, and for what? 



to achieve this result, what an effort it will cost him! 
Whether he is mortifying himself or permitting him- 
self some legitimate enjoyment, whether he is think- 
ing or acting, at work or at rest, loving what is good 
or turning away in repugnance from what is evil, 
whether he is moved by desire or by fear, joy or 
sorrow, fear or hope, whether he feels indignation or 
is calm; in all things, and always, he endeavors to 
keep his course dead ahead, in the direction of God’s 
good pleasure. At prayer, and especially before the 
Blessed Sacrament, he isolates himself more com- 
pletely than ever from all visible things, that he may 
come to converse with the invisible God as if he saw 
Him . 2 ' 1 Even in the midst of his apostolic labors he 
will manage to realize this ideal, which St. Paul ad- 
mired in Moses. 

Neither the troubles of life, nor the storms aroused 
by passion, will succeed in turning him aside from 
the line of conduct, he has daid down for himself. 
But on the other hand, if he does weaken for a 
moment, he pulls himself together at once, and 
presses forward with even more determination than 

What a job! And yet it is not hard to understand 
how God rewards, even here below, with special joys, 
those who do not flinch at the effort which this work 

"Idlers?” Dom Sebastian concludes, "Are these 
true religious, or these truly interior and zealous 
priests idlers? Nonsense! Let the busiest men of 
affairs in the world come and take a look at our life, 
and see how their labors compare with ours!” 

Who does not know this from experience? There 
are times when we might be inclined to prefer long 

29 Invisibilcm cnim tamquam visibilem sustinuit (Hcb. 
xi :2 7) . 



hours in some exhausting occupation to half an hour 
of serious mental prayer, to an attentive hearing of 
Mass, or to the careful and intelligent recitation of 
the Breviary . 30 

Father Faber expresses his grief in admitting that 
for some people "the quarter of an hour after Com- 
munion is the weariest quarter hour of the day.” 
When we have to make a three days’ retreat, how 
unwilling some of us are! To withdraw for three 
days from a life which, though full of things to be 
done, is easy, and to live on the supernatural plane, 
making the supernatural sink into every detail of 
our existence during this retreat; to compel one’s 
mind to see everything, during this time, by the light 
of faith alone, and one’s heart to forget everything 
in order to seek Christ alone, and His life; to remain 
face to face with one’s self and lay bare the infirmi- 
ties and weaknesses of one’s soul; to throw the soul 
into the crucible, and turn a deaf ear to all its cries 
of complaint: all this is a prospect which makes 
some people, otherwise ready to face any fatigue, turn 
tail and flee when there is no longer a question of an 
expenditure of merely natural energy. 

And if only three days of such occupation may 
seem already so exhausting, what does nature think 
of the idea of an entire life to be gradually made sub- 
ject to the rule of the interior life? 

No doubt, in this labor of detachment, grace 
shoulders a great part of the difficulty, making the 
yoke sweet and the burden light. But still, what 
efforts the soul has to make! It always costs some- 

30 Quotation from Dom Festugiere, O.S.B. : “Whatever 
the difficulties of the active life may be, only the inexperi- 
enced will deny the gruelling trials of the interior life. Many 
active workers, pious men, admit that what costs them the 
most, in their life, is not so much action as their prayers 
of obligation. It is a relief for them to go to work.” 



thing to get back on the right road, and return to the 
rule that "our conversation is in heaven.’’"' St. 
Thomas explains this very well. Man, he says, is 
placed in between the things of this world and spirit- 
ual goods, in which eternal happiness is to be found. 
The more he clings to one, the more he recedes from 
the other and vice versa ?' 1 When one side of the 
scale goes down, the other goes up just as much. 

Now since the disaster of original sin has upset 
the whole economy of our being, it has made this 
double movement of adhesion and recession extreme- 
ly difficult to carry out. To re-establish order and 
balance in this "little world,” which is man, and to 
preserve it by the interior life requires, since the fall, 
work, suffering, and sacrifice. The building has 
caved in, and has to be rebuilt and preserved from 
fresh collapse. 

By constant vigilance, self-denial, and mortifica- 
tion, we have to tear away from thoughts of earth 
a heart made heavy with all the weight of a cor- 
rupted nature, gravi corde. 3s We have to remake our 
character, in detail, in all those points in which it is 
most unlike the physiognomy of Our Lord’s soul; 
for instance in its dissipation, bad temper, self-satis- 
faction, its hardness of heart, egoism, lack of pity and 
kindness, and so forth. We have to resist the allure- 
ment of pleasures that are both sensible and present, 
for the hope of a spiritual happiness which we shall 
only loose from everything that can cause us to love 

31 Conversatio nostra in coelis cst (Philipp. iii:20). 

32 Est homo constitutus inter res mundi hujus et bona 
spiritualia , in quibus aeterna beatitudo eonsistit , ita quod 
quanto plus inhaeret uni eorum, tanto phis recedit ab altero, 
et e contrario (lae 2ae, q.. 108, a. 4). 

33 Ps. iv. 



fhis world. We have to take all creatures, desires, 
longings, concupiscences, exterior goods, self-will, 
and self-judgment, and offer them up in a holocaust 
without reserve. What a task! 

And yet this is only the negative side of the in- 
terior life. After this hand-to-hand fight that made 
St. Paul groan and which Father de Ravignan ex- 
pressed as follows: "You ask me what I did during 
my novitiate? Well, there were two of us. I threw 
the other fellow out the window, and then I was 
alone”; after this unremitting fight against an enemy 
always liable to rise from the dead, we must protect, 
against the slightest movement of return of the 
natural spirit, a heart which, purified by penance, is 
now consumed with the desire to make up for its 
insults to God. We must devote all our energies to 
keeping that heart fixed upon the invisible beauty of 
the virtues to be acquired, that we may imitate those 
of Christ. We must endeavor to maintain, even in 
the smallest details of life, an absolute confidence in 
Providence. And this is the positive side of the in- 
terior life. Anyone can guess the unlimited field of 
work that it opens up. 

This labor is personal, steady, and constant. And 
yet it is precisely by this work that the soul acquires 
a wonderful facility and an astonishing rapidity in 
carrying out the duties of an apostle. This secret 
belongs to the interior life alone. 

The immense labors accomplished, in spite of pre- 
carious health, by a St. Augustine, a St. John Chrys- 
ostom, a St. Bernard, a St. Thomas Aquinas, or a St. 

34 Condelector cnim legi Dei secundum intcriorcm hominem: 
video autem aliam legem in membris rcpugnantcm leqi men- 
tis meae, et captivantem me in lege peccati. quae est in mem- 
bris meis. Infclix ego homo; quis me liherabit de corporc 
mortis hujus? (Rom. vii:22~24). 


Vincent de Paul amaze us. But we are still more 
astonished to see how these men, in spite of their al- 
most unceasing work, kept themselves in the most 
constant union with God. Quenching, more than 
others, their thirst at the source of life, by contem- 
plation, these saints drew from it the most unlimited 
capacity for work. 

This truth was well expressed by one of our great 
bishops, overburdened as he was with work, when he 
replied to a statesman, himself hard-pressed with his 
affairs, who asked him the secret of his constant 
serenity and of the astonishing results of his enter- 
prises. "To all your occupations, my dear friend,” 
said the Bishop, "add half an hour of meditation 
every morning. Not only will you get through all 
your business, but you will find time for still more.” 

Finally, do we not see St. Louis, King of France, 
finding in the eight or nine hours a day which he was 
in the habit of devoting to the exercises of the inner 
life, the secret and the strength to apply himself with 
so much attention to the affairs of state and the good 
of his subjects that a socialist orator admitted that 
never, even in our own time, had so much been done 
for the working class, as under the reign of this king? 

6. Reply to Another Objection: Is the Interior Life 


Let us not speak of the lazy man or the spiritual 
glutton for whom the interior life consists in the de- 
lights of a pleasurable idleness, and who are much 
more avid for the consolations of God than for the 
God of consolations. They have only a false piety. 
But anyone who, either offhand or through stubborn 
conviction, calls the inner life selfish, does not under- 
stand it any better than they do. 



We have already said that this life is the pure and 
abundant source of the most generous works of chari- 
ty for souls and of charity which seeks to alleviate 
the sufferings of this world. But let us consider the 
usefulness of this life from another point of view. 

Was the interior life of Mary and Joseph selfish 
and sterile? What blasphemy, and what absurdity! 
And yet they are credited with not one external work. 
The mere influence upon the world of an intense 
inner life, the merits of prayers and sacrifices applied 
for the spread of the benefits of the Redemption 
were enough to make Mary Queen of the Apostles 
and Joseph Patron of the Universal Church . 35 

"My sister hath left me alone to serve,” 36 says (in 
Martha’s w r ords) the presumptuous idiot who sees 
nothing but his own exterior works and their result. 

His stupidity and lack of understanding of the 
ways of God do not go to such lengths as to make 
him suppose that God could not get along without 
him. And yet he still loves to repeat with Martha, 
incapable of understanding the excellence of the con- 
templation of Magdalen, "Speak to her that she help 
me,” 37 and goes so far as to cry out, "To what pur- 
pose is this waste ?” 38 condemning as loss of time 
the moments that his apostolic colleagues, more 
spiritual than he, reserve for contemplation, in order 
to solidify their interior life with God. 

"And for them do I sanctify myself that they also 
may be sanctified in truth,” 39 replies the soul that 
has realized all the implications of the Master’s 

35 In another chapter, we shall see that it is this interior 
life which gives works their fruitfulness. 

30 Soror mca reliquit me solam ministrare (Luc. x:40). 

37 Pic illi ut me adjurct (Luc. x:4). 

38 Uf quid perditio haee? (Matth. xxiv:8). 

39 Pro eis ego sanctifico meipsum ut sint et ipsi saneti- 
ficati in veritate (Joan. xvii:19). 



phrase, "that they also," and who, knowing the value 
of prayer and sacrifice, unites to the tears and Blood 
of the Redeemer the tears of his own eyes and the 
blood of a heart that purifies itself more and more 
each day. 

With Jesus, the interior soul hears the voice of the 
world’s crime rising up to heaven and calling down 
chastisement upon the guilty; and this soul delays 
the sentence by the omnipotence of suppliant prayer, 
which is able to stay the hand of God, just when 
He is about to let loose His thunderbolt. 

"Those who pray,” said the eminent statesman 
Donoso Cortes, after his conversion, "do more for the 
world than those who fight, and if the world is going 
from bad to worse, it is because there are more bat- 
tles than prayers.” 

"Hands uplifted,” said Bossuet, "rout more bat- 
talions than hands that strike.” And in the midst of 
their desert, the solitaries of the Thebaid often had 
burning in their hearts the fire that animated St. 
Francis Xavier. "They seemed to some,” said St. 
Augustine, "to have abandoned the world more than 
they should have.” Videntur nonnullis res humanas 
plus quam oportet deseruisse. But, he adds, people 
forget that their prayers, purified by this complete 
separation from the world, were all the more power- 
ful and more NECESSARY for a depraved society. 

A short but fervent prayer will usually do more 
to bring about a conversion than long discussions 
of fine speeches. He who prays is in touch with the 
FIRST cause. He acts directly upon it. And by that 
very fact he has his hand upon all the secondary 
causes, since they only receive their efficacy from this 
superior principle. And so the desired effect is ob- 
tained both more surely and more promptly. 

A single burning prayer of the seraphic St. Theresa 



(as was learned through a highly creditable revela- 
tion) converted ten thousand heretics. And her soul, 
all on fire for Christ, could not conceive of a con- 
templative life, an interior life, which would take no 
interest in the Savior’s intense anxiety for the re- 
demption of souls. "I would accept Purgatory until 
the Last Judgment,” she said, "to deliver but one of 
them. And what do I care how long I suffer, if I can 
thus set free a single soul, let alone many souls, for 
the greater glory of God?” Speaking of her nuns, she 
said: "Bring to bear, my children, your prayers, your 
disciplines, your fasts, and your desires upon this 
apostolic object.” 

This, indeed, is the whole work of the Carmelite, 
the Trappistine, the Poor Clare. See how they follow 
the advance of the apostle, supplying him with the 
overflow of their prayers and penances. All along 
the line of the Cross’s march, or of the Gospel’s shin- 
ing progress over the earth, their prayers sweep down 
from on high upon souls, their divine prey. Better 
still, it is their secret but active love which awakens 
the voice of mercy in every part of a world of sinners. 

No one in this world knows the reason for the con- 
versions of pagans at the very ends of the earth, for 
the heroic endurance of Christians under persecution, 
for the heavenly joy of martyred missionaries. All 
this is invisibly bound up with the prayer of some 
humble, cloistered nun. Her fingers play upon the 
keyboard of divine forgiveness and of the eternal 
lights; her silent and lonely soul presides over the 
salvation of souls and the conquests of the Church . 40 

"I want Trappists in this apostolic vicariate,” said 
Msgr. Favier, Bishop of Peking, "I even desire them 
to abstain from all exterior ministry in order that 

40 Lumiere et Platnme, P. Leon, O.M. 



nothing may distract them from the work of prayer, 
penance, and sacred studies. For I well know what 
a help will be given to our missionaries by the exist- 
ence of our poor Chinese people.” And later on 
he declared: "We have succeeded in penetrating into 
a district hitherto unapproachable. I attribute this 
fact to our dear Trappists.” 

"Ten Carmelite nuns, praying,” said a Bishop of 
Cochin-China to the Governor of Saigon, "will be 
of greater help to me than twenty missionaries, 

Secular priests, religious, both men and women, 
vowed to the active, but also to the interior life, share 
this same power, with the souls in the cloister, over 
the heart of God. Father Chevier, Don Bosco, Pere 
Marie Antoine, are striking examples of this. Vener- 
able Anne-Marie Taigi, in her duties as a poor house- 
keeper, was an apostle, as was St. Benedict-Joseph 
Labre, shunning the beaten track. M. Dupont, the 
holy man of Tours, Col. Paqueron, and so on, all 
consumed with the same ardor, were powerful in their 
works because they were interior souls. And General 
de Sonis, between battles, found the secret of his 
apostolate in union with God. 

Was the life of the Cure d’Ars selfish and sterile? 
Such a statement would only be worthy of silent con- 
tempt. Anyone able to judge in such matters knows 
that it was precisely the perfection of his intimate 
union with God that was the reason for the zeal and 
success of this priest without natural talents, but 
who, as contemplative as a Carthusian, thirsted for 
souls with a thirst that his inner life had made un- 
quenchable. And he received from Our Lord, in 
Whom he lived, as it were, a participation in the 
divine power to make converts. 



Was his inner life barren? Let us imagine a St. 
Vianney in every one of our dioceses. Before ten 
years, our country would be regenerated, and much 
more completely regenerated than it could be by any 
number of enterprises without firm foundation in the 
interior life, even if they were supported by unlimited 
funds and by the talent and activity of thousands 
of apostles. 

Nowadays, the whole power of hell seems more 
than ever bent upon fighting the moral power of the 
Church and suffocating the divine life in souls. 

Beyond all doubt, our chief reason for hoping that 
our world will rise triumphant, in the teeth of all 
these onslaughts, is that at no other time (or so it 
seems) has there been what we now see: so great a 
proportion of souls, even among the simple faithful, 
filled with ardent desires to live united with the 
Heart of Jesus and to extend His Kingdom, by scat- 
tering around them the seeds of interior life. Granted 
that these chosen souls are a tiny minority. But what 
do numbers matter, where there is intensity of such 
life? The fact that France got back on her feet after 
the revolution must be accredited to a priesthood 
that learned the interior life the hard way, by perse- 
cution. But through these men a current of divine 
life came to enliven a generation which seemed con- 
demned to death by apostasy and an indifference 
which no human power seemed able to overcome. 

And yet now, after fifty years of freedom of educa- 
tion in France, after this half-century that has beheld 
the birth of works without number, and during which 
we have had, in our hands, the youth of the land, 
and have enjoyed the almost complete support of the 
various governments, how is it that, in spite of re- 
sults that appear, outwardly, to be quite striking, we 
have been unable to form, in our nation, a majority 


with enough real Christianity in it to light against 
the coalition of the followers of Satan? 

No doubt, the abandonment of the liturgical life 
and the cessation of its influence upon the faithful 
have contributed to this impotence. Our spirituality 
has become narrow, dry, superficial, external, or al- 
together sentimental; it does not have the penetra- 
tion and soul-stirring power that only the Liturgy, 
that great source of Christian vitality, can give. 

But is there not another cause to be traced to the 
fact that we priests and educators, because we lack 
an intensive inner life, are unable to beget in souls 
anything more than a surface piety, without any 
powerful ideals or strong convictions? Those of us 
who are professors: have we not, perhaps, been more 
ambitious for the distinction of degrees and for the 
reputation of our colleges than to impart a solid re- 
ligious instruction to souls? Have we not worn our- 
selves out on less important things than forming of 
wills, and imprinting on well-tried characters the 
stamp of Jesus Christ? And has not the most fre- 
quent cause of this mediocrity been the common 
banality of our inner life? 

If the priest is a saint (the saying goes), the people 
will be fervent; if the priest is fervent, the people 
will be pious; if the priest is pious, the people will at 
least be decent. But if the priest is only decent, the 
people will be godless. The spiritual generation is al- 
ways one degree less intense in its life than those who 
beget it in Christ. 

We would not go so far as to accept this proposi- 
tion, but we consider that the following words of 
St. Alphonsus sufficiently well express the cause 
to which we may attribute the responsibility for our 
present situation: 



"The good morals and the salvation of the people 
depend on good pastors. If there is a good priest in 
charge of the parish, you will soon see devotion flour- 
ishing, people frequenting the Sacraments, and hon- 
oring the practice of mental prayer. Hence the prov- 
erb: like pastor, like parish: Qualls pastor, tails 
parochia. According to this word of Ecclesiasticus 
(x:2) 'Those who dwell in the state, take after their 
ruler’: Qualls est rector clvltatls tales et Inhabltantes 
In ea.” (Homo Apost., vii: 16.) 

7. No Conflict Between the Interior Life and the 

Salvation of Souls 

But now the extrovert, in search of arguments 
against the interior life, will complain: how can I 
dare to curtail my active works? Can I possibly do 
too much, when the salvation of souls is at stake? 
Do I not make up for everything in my activity, and 
amply too, by my sublime self-sacrifice? Work is 
prayer. Sacrifice excels prayer. And does not St. 
Gregory call the zeal for souls the most pleasing sac- 
rifice anyone could offer to God? Nullum sacrifcium 
est Deo magis acceptum quarn zelus animarum? 
(Horn. 12, in Ezech.) 

First of all, let us fix the exact sense of St. Greg- 
ory’s words, in the terms of the Angelic Doctor. "To 
offer sacrifice spiritually to God,” he says, "is to offer 
Him something that gives Him glory. Now of all 
goods, the most pleasing that man can offer to God 
is, undeniably, the salvation of a soul. But every one 
must first offer bis own soul, according to what is said 
in Scripture: 'If you wish to please God, have pity on 
your own soul.’ When this first sacrifice has been 
consummated, then will it be permitted us to procure 
the same joy for others. The more closely a man 
unites first his own soul, and then that of another, to 


God, the more acceptable is his sacrilice. But this 
initimate and generous, as well as humble union, can 
only be effected by prayer. To apply oneself to a life 
of prayer, or to lead others to give themselves to it, 
is, therefore, more pleasing to God than to devote 
oneself to activity and good works, and lead others to 
practice these. And so,” the Angelic Doctor con- 
cludes, "when St. Gregory affirms that the most pleas- 
ing sacrilice to God is the salvation of souls, he does 
not mean by that to give the active life preference 
over contemplation, but he is only saying that to offer 
to God one single soul gives Him infinitely more 
glory and obtains, for ourselves, much more merit 
than if we gave Him all that is most precious on 
this earth.” 41 

The necessity of the interior life is so far from 
being an obstacle to zealous activity in generous 
souls, to whom the clearly recognized will of God 
makes it a duty to accept the responsibility for such 
works, that it would be the greatest possible mistake 
for such persons to renounce this work, or give them- 
selves to it halfheartedly, or even desert the field of 
battle under pretext of taking greater care of their 
souls and arriving at a more perfect union with God. 
In some cases, such a course would lead to grave 
danger. "Woe unto me,” says St. Paul, "if I preach 
not the Gospel.” 42 

Once this reservation has been made, however, we 
must at once add that it would be an even greater 
mistake to devote oneself to the conversion of souls 
while forgetting one’s own salvation. God wants us 
to love our neighbor as ourselves, but never more 
than ourselves, that is, never to such an extent that 
we harm our own souls. And in practice, this is as 

41 St. Thomas Aquinas 2a 2ae, q. 182, a2, ad 3. 

42 I Cor. ix :16. 



much as if He demanded that we take more care of 
our own soul dian of those others, since our zeal 
must be regulated by charity, and "Prima sibi cloari- 
tas" 4 ' : is an axiom of theology. 

"I love Jesus Christ,” said St. Alphonsus Liguori, 
" and that is why I am on lire with the desire to give 
Him souls, first of all my oivn, and then an incalcu- 
lable number of others.” This is a practical applica- 
tion of St. Bernard’s Tuus esto nbique 44 and that 
other principle of the holy abbot of Clairvaux: "No 
man is truly wise, who is not wise for himself.” 4: ’ 

St. Bernard, who was himself a rare miracle of 
apostolic zeal, followed this rule. Geoffrey of Aux- 
erre, his secretary, depicts him as: Totus primum sibi 
et sic totus omnibus. "He belonged, first of all, en- 
tirely to himself, and thus he belonged entirely to 
all men.” 40 

”1 do not tell you,” writes the same saint to Pope 
Bl. Eugenius III, "to withdraw completely from secu- 
lar operations. I only exhort you not to throw 
yourself entirely into them. If you are a man belong- 
ing to everybody, belong also to yourself. Otherwise 
what good would it do you to save everybody else, if 
you were to be lost yourself? Keep something, then, 
for yourself, and if everyone comes to drink at your 
fountain, do not deprive yourself of drinking there 
too. What! Must you alone go thirsty? Always be- 
gin with the consideration of yourself. It would be 
vain for you to lavish care upon others, and neglect 
yourself. May all your reflections, then, begin with 
yourself, and end. also with yourself. Be, for yourself, 

43 Charity for oneself first (Charity begins at home). 

44 “In all places, belong to yourself.” 

45 Non ergo sapiens, qui sibi non est (St. Bernard, De 
Consideratione, ii:3). 

46 Gaufridus, Vita Bcrnardi. 



the first and last, and remember that in the business 
of winning salvation, no one is closer to you than 
your mother’s only son.’’ 17 

Very suggestive is this retreat note of Bishop Du- 
panloup, of Orleans: "My activities are so crushing 
that they ruin my health, disturb my piety and yet 
teach me nothing new. I have got to control them. 
God has given me the grace to recognize that the big 
obstacle to my acquiring a peaceful and fruitful in- 
terior life is my natural activity, and my tendency to 
be carried away by my work. And I have recognized, 
besides, that this lack of interior life is the source of 
all my faults, all my troubles, my dryness, my fits of 
disgust, and my bad health. 

"I have therefore resolved to direct all my efforts 
to acquiring this interior life which I so badly need, 
and I have, with God’s grace, drawn up the follow- 
ing points with that end in view: 

"I. I will always take more time than is neces- 
sary, to do everything. This is the way to avoid being 
in a hurry and getting excited. 

"2. Since I invariably have more diings to do than 
time in which to do them, and this prospect preoccu- 
pies me and gets me all worked up, I will cease to 
think about all that I have to do, and only consider 
the time I have at my disposal. I will make use of 
that time, without losing a moment of it, beginning 
with the most important duties; and as regards those 
that may or may not get done, I shall not worry 
about them.” 

A jeweler will prefer the smallest fragment of 
diamond to several sapphires; and so, in the order 

47 A tc tua inchoctur considcratio nc frustra cxtcndaris 
i)i alia, te ncglccto . . . Tu tibi primus, tu ultimus . . . in 
acquisitione salutis nemo tibi gcrmanior cst unico matris 
tuac (St. Bernard loc. cit.). 



established by God, our intimacy with Him gives 
Him more glory than all possible good, procured by 
us, for a great number of souls, but to the detriment 
of our own progress. Our Heavenly Father, "who de- 
votes Himself more to the direction of a soul in 
which He reigns, than to the natural government of 
the whole universe and to the civil government of all 
empires,” 43 looks for this harmony in our zeal. 

He prefers sometimes to let an enterprise go by 
the board, if He sees it becoming an obstacle to the 
charity of the soul engaged in it. 

But as for Satan, he, on the contrary, does not 
hesitate to encourage a purely superficial success, if 
he can by this success prevent the apostle from mak- 
ing progress in the interior life: so clearly does his 
rage guess w'hat it is Our Lord values most highly. 
To get rid of a diamond, he is quite willing to allow' 
us a few sapphires. 

48 P. Lallamant, Doct. Spirit. 



1. The Priority of the Interior Over the Active Life 

in the Eyes of God 

In God is life, all life. He is life itself. Yet it is 
not by exterior works, by the creation, for instance, 
that the infinite Being manifests this life in its most 
intense form, but rather by what theology calls opera- 
tion's ad intra, by that ineffable activity of which 
the term is the perpetual generation of the Son and 
the unceasing procession of the Holy Spirit. Here, 
pre-eminently, is His eternal, His essential work. 

Let us consider the mortal life of Our Lord, a per- 
fect realization of the divine plan. Thirty years of 
recollection and solitude, then forty days of retreat 
and penance are the prelude to His brief evangelical 
career. How often, too, during His apostolic jour- 
neys, we see Him retiring to the mountains or the 
desert to pray: "He retired into the desert and 

prayed," 1 or passing the night in prayer: "He passed 
the whole night in the prayer of God.” 2 

Still more striking is the example of Our Lord’s 
reply to Martha who, desiring Jesus to condemn the 
supposed laziness of her sister, meant that He should 
proclaim the superiority of the active life. But Jesus 
said: "Mary hath chosen the better part,” 3 a reply 
which definitely establishes the pre-eminence of the 
interior life. What is to be concluded from this, if 

1 Scccdcbat in descrtum ct orabat (Luc. v:16). 

2 Pernoctnns in orationc Dei (Luc. vi:12). 

3 Maria optimum partem elegit (Luc. x:42). 



not that it was His express intention to show us, in 
this way, the superiority of the life of prayer over 
the life of action? 

After the Master, the Apostles, faithful to His 
example, take upon themselves, first of all the duty of 
prayer; and then, after that, in order to devote them- 
selves to their preaching ministry, they leave to the 
deacons all other, more external, duties. "We will 
give ourselves continually to prayer and to the min- 
istry of the word.” 4 

In their turn, Popes, holy doctors of the Church, 
and theologians affirm that the interior life is, of 
itself, superior to the active life. 

Not many years ago a woman of faith, of virtue, 
and of great character, superior general of one of the 
most important teaching congregations in the Avey- 
ron district of central France, was invited by her su- 
periors to consent to the secularization of her nuns. 

What should they do: sacrifice the religious life in 
order to continue teaching, or abandon their active 
work in order to keep their status as religious? Per- 
plexed, and not knowing how to find out what was 
God’s will in the matter, she left secretly for Rome, 
was granted an audience with Leo XIII, and placed 
before him her doubts, explaining what great pres- 
sure was being put upon her, in favor of active works. 

The venerable pontiff, after a few moments of 
recollection, gave her this categorical reply: "Before 
everything else, before any kind of work, keep the re- 
ligious life for those of your daughters who really 
possess the spirit of their holy state, and who reallv 
love the life of prayer. And if you cannot keep both 
your life of prayer and your active work, God will 
find a way to raise up other workers, in France, if 

4 Nos vcro orationi et ministcrio verbi instantes erimus 
(Acts vi :4) . 



they are necessary. As for you, by your interior life, 
above all by your prayers and sacrifices, you will be 
more useful to France by remaining true religious, al- 
though exiled from her, than you would by staying 
in your native land, though deprived of the treasure 
of your consecration to God.” 

In a letter addressed to a great religious institute, 
exclusively devoted to teaching, Pius X flatly de- 
clared his views on this subject in the following 
words : 

"We learn that an opinion is current to the effect 
that you ought to put in the front rank the educa- 
tion of the young, and leave your religious profession 
in the second place, on the grounds that the spirit and 
the needs of the time make this necessary. It is alto- 
gether against our wish that such an opinion should 
receive any weight with you, or with any other re- 
ligious institute which, like yours, has education as 
its object. Let it be taken as a firmly established 
truth, as far as you are concerned, that the religious 
life is vastly superior to the common life, and that 
even if you have grave obligations to your nieghbor, 
in your duty to teach, far more grave still are the 
obligations that bind you to God.” 5 But is not the 
whole reason for the religious life, and its principal 
object, the acquiring of an inner life? 

5 Onniino nolumus apud vos eaeterosque vestri similes, 
quorum religiosum munus est erudire adolescentulos, ea, 
quom pervulgari ciudimus, quidqugm valeat opinio , institu- 
tion* puerili primes vobis dandas esse religiosae professioni 
secundas, idque aetatis hujus ct ingenio necessitatibus pos- 
tulnri . . . Itaque in causa vestra illud maneat religiosae vitae 
genus longe communi vitae praestare: atque si magno ob- 
stricti estis erga proximos officio docendi. mul to maiora esse 
vincula quibus Deo obligamini ( H.H . Pius X). However, 
to give up. temporarily, the religious habit in order to keep 
a work going is not here blamed by Pius X, provided that 
every means is taken to preserve, in all things, the religious 



Vita contemplativa, says the Angelic Doctor, sim- 
pliciter melior esl . . . et potior quam activa. "The 
contemplative life is by its very nature better and 
more effective than the active life.” '* 

St. Bonaventure accumulates comparatives to dem- 
onstrate the excellence of this inner life: Vita sub- 
limior, securior, opulentior, suavior, stabilior. "A life 
that is more sublime, more secure, richer, pleasanter, 
and more stable.” 

Vita subiimior. 

The active life is concerned with men, the con- 
templative introduces us into the realm of the highest 
truth, and never turns aside its gaze from the very 
principle of all life. Principium, quod Deus est, quae- 
ritur. Being more sublime, it has a much more ex- 
tensive horizon and field of action. "Martha, in one 
place, was busy in bodily work, with a few things. 
Mary, by her charity in many places, accomplished 
many things. For she, in the contemplation and love 
of God, beholds everything; her heart goes out to 
everything, comprehends and embraces all, so that, 
by comparison with her, it can be said that Martha 
is troubled over only a few things.”* 

Vita securior. 

There is less danger. In a life that is almost ex- 
clusively active, the soul is excited, worked up, scat- 
ters its energies and, by that very fact, weakens it- 

5 * Summa Theol. 2 2ae, q. 182. a. 1. 

In this article St. Thomas gives nine cogent reasons 
why the contemplative life is simply better than the active. 

6 Martha in uno loro corporc labor aba t circa aliqua, 
Maria in multis locis carifatr circa multa. In Dei emttt con - 
templntionc ct rnnorc videt omnia: comprchcndit ct complccti- 
tur omnia, ita ut ciiis comparatinnc . Martha sollicita din 
potest circa pauca ( Richard of St. Victor, in Cant. viii). 



self. It has a threefold defect: sollicita es 1 (thou art 
careful), it is worried with mental problems, sollici- 
t mimes in cogitat//; turbaris ( thou art troubled ) , and 
here are the troubles that stir up the passions, turba- 
tiones in affectu; finally, erga plurima (about many 
things), occupations are multiplied, and so our energy 
and our action is divided: divisiones in actu. But for 
the interior life one rhing alone is necessary: union 
with God. Porro unum est necessarium. All the rest 
can only be secondary, something accomplished sole- 
ly by virtue of this union and in order to strengthen 
it more and more. 

Vita opuientior. 

Contemplation brings with it all the other good 
things. "All good things came to me together with 
her.” s It is the better part/’ above all others. Con- 
templation overflows with much greater merits. Why? 
Because at the same time it increases the zest of 
the will and the degree of sanctifying grace in rhe 
soul, and makes the soul act with love as its motive 

Vita suavior. 

The truly interior soul abandons itself to the good 
pleasure of God, and accepts with the same patience 
and evenness of heart both what is pleasing and 
what bring pain: indeed, it goes so far as to be joyful 
under affliction, and happy to carry the Cross. 

7 Martha, Martha, sollicita cs et turbaris erga plurima, 
porro ttmnn est necessarium (Luc. x :41, 42). 

8 V encrunt mihi omnia bona pariter cum ilia (Sap. 
vii : 1 1 ) . 

9 Optimum partem eleqit quae )ion auferetur ab ea (Luc. 
x :42) . 


Vita stabilior. 

No matter how intense it may be, the active life 
has its limit here below. Preaching, teaching, works 
of every sort all come to an end at the threshold of 
eternity. But the interior life will never cease: 
"Which shall not be taken away from her." Through 
this life, our stay here below becomes a continual 
ascent towards the world of light, an ascent which 
death only makes incomparably more radiant and 
more rapid. 

One may sum up the perfections of the interior life 
by applying to it St. Bernard’s words: "In this life 
man lives more purely, falls more rarely, recovers 
more promptly, advances more surely, receives more 
graces, dies more calmly, is more quickly cleansed, 
and gains a greater recompense.” 10 

2. Good Works Should Be Nothing but an Over- 
flow from the Inner Life 

"Be ye therefore perfect as your heavenly Father 
is perfect” (Matt. v:48). With all due proportion, 
the way that God acts ought to be the criterion and 
the rule both of our interior and exterior life. 

However, as we already know, it is God’s nature 
to give, and experience teaches us that here below He 
spreads His benefits in profusion over all creatures 
and, especially, upon human beings. And so, for 
thousands and perhaps millions of centuries, the entire 
universe has been the object of this never failing 
prodigality, which pours it out in ceaseless gifts. 
And yet God is nothing the poorer, and this inex- 

x0 Hacc (vita) sancta, pura ct immaculate, in qua homo 
vivit purius, cadit rarius , surgit vclocius , incedit cautius, 
irrogatur frequentius, quicscit sccurius, moritur fiducius, pur- 
gatur citius, pracmiatur copiosius (St. Bernard. Hom. Simile 
est . . . homini neg.). 


haustible munificence cannot, in any way whatever, 
diminish His infinite resources. 

To man, God does more than grant exterior gifts: 
He sends him also His Word. But here again, in 
this act of supreme generosity which is nothing else 
but the gift of Himself, Gcxl abandons and can aban- 
don none of the interity of His nature. In giving 
us His Son, He keeps Him, nevertheless, ever in 
Himself. "Take, as an example, the All-highest Fa- 
ther of all, sending us His Word, and at the same 
time keeping Him for Himself.” 11 

By the Sacraments, and especially by the Eucha- 
rist, Jesus Christ comes down to enrich us with His 
grace. He pours it out upon us without measure, 
for He also is a limitless ocean whose fullness over- 
flows upon us without ever being exhausted. "Of 
His fullness we have all received.” 12 

And so we ought to be, in some manner, apostolic 
men who take upon ourselves the noble task of sanc- 
tifying others: "Your 'word’ is your consideration. 

If it go forth from you let it still remain.” 13 Yes, our 
"word” is the interior spirit formed, by grace, in our 
souls. Let this spirit, then, give life to all the mani- 
festations of our zeal, but, though poured out un- 
ceasingly for the benefit of our neighbors, let it be 
renewed likewise without ceasing, by the means 
which Jesus offers us for this purpose. Our interior 
life ought to be the stem, filled with vigorous sap, of 
which our works are the flowers. 

The soul of an apostle — it should be flooded first 
of all with light, and inflamed with love, so that, re- 

11 Sump exemplum de summo omnium Parcnte Verbum 
suum emittente ct retinente (St. Bernard, De Consideratione, 
II. c. 3). 

12 De t>lenitudine ejus nos omnes accepimus (Joan, i .16). 

13 Verbum tuum covsidcratio tun, quae si Procedit, non 
reccdat (St. Bernard, De Consideratione, IT, 3). 



fleeting that light and that heat, it may enlighten 
and give warmth to other souls as well. That which 
they have heard, which they have seen with their 
eyes, which they have looked upon, and their hands 
have almost handled, this will they teach to men . 14 

Their lips will pour forth into souls the abundance 
of celestial joys, says St. Gregory. 

Now, therefore, we can deduce the following 

The life of action ought to flow from the contem- 
plative life, to interpret and extend it, outside oneself, 
though at the same time being detached from it as 
little as possible. 

The Fathers and Doctors of the Church vie with 
one another in proclaiming this doctrine. 

"Before allowing his tongue to speak,” says St. 
Augustine, "the apostle should lift up his thirsting 
soul to God, in order to give forth what he has drunk 
in, and pour forth that with which he is filled.” 1!i 

Before giving, says the Pseudo-Denys , 16 one must 
first receive, and the higher angels only transmit to 
the lower the lights of which they have received the 
fullness. The Creator has established this universal 
order with respect to divine things: the one whose 
mission it is to distribute these things must first share 
them and fill himself abundantly with the graces that 
God wishes to give to souls through his intermediary. 
Then, and then only, will it be permitted him to share 
them with others. 

Is there anyone who does not know St. Bernard’s 
saying, to apostles: "If you are wise, you will be res- 

14 ( I Joan, i :1 ). 

ir ' Priitsnmnn e.verut proferentem liiujuam ad Deinn level 
nnimam sitientem ut eruetet auod Inherit, vel quod impleverit 
fundat (St. Augustine. De Dnetrina Christiana, Book IV). 

ir> De Coe!. Hier., c. iii. 



ervoirs and not channels.” Si sapis, ton chain tc cxhi- 
hehts et non canalem? (Serm. xviii in Cant.) The 
channels let the water How away, and do not retain 
a drop. But the reservoir is first filled, and then, 
without emptying itself, pours out its overllow, which 
is ever renewed, over the fields which it waters. How 
many there are devoted to works, who are never any- 
thing but channels, and retain nothing for them- 
selves, but remain dry while trying to pass on life- 
giving grace to souls! "We have many channels in 
the Church today,” St. Bernard added, sadly, "but 
very few reservoirs.” 17 

Every cause is superior to its effect, and therefore 
more perfection is needed to make others perfect, 
than simply to perfect oneself . 1 s 

As a mother cannot suckle her child except in so 
far as she feeds herself, so confessor, spiritual di- 
rectors, preachers, catechists, professors must first of 
all assimilate the substance with which they are later 
to feed the children of the Church. 1!> Divine truth 
and love are the elements of this substance. But the 
interior life alone can transform divine truth and 
charity in us, to a truly lifegiving nourishment for 

3. Active Works Must Begin and End in the Interior 

Life, and, in It, Find Their Means 

Of course, we speak only of active works that are 
worthy of the name of "works.” In our day, there 

17 Canales multas hodie habcmtis in Ecclesia, conchas 
vero pcrpaucas (St. Bernard, Serm. xviii in Cantica). 

18 Manifcstum cst autem majorem pcrfectionem requiri 
ad hoc quod ahquis pcrfectionem aliis tribuat quani ad hoc 
ut aliquis in sc ipso pcrfcctns sit , sicut majus est posse faccre 
aliquem talon quani esse talon ct oninis causa potior est suo 
cffcctu (St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. dc Pcrfcc. Vitae Spir.). 

10 Oportet quod pracdicator sit imbutus ct dulcorafus in 
sc . ct post aliis proponai (St. Bonaventure, Ulus. EccL. Serm. 
xvii) . 



are not a few that do not deserve this title at all. 
They are a species of enterprise, organized under a 
pious front, but with the real aim of acquiring, for 
their initiators, the applause of the public, and a 
reputation for an extraordinary ability. And these 
men are determined to achieve the success of such 
enterprises at any cost, even that of using the least 
justifiable of means. 

Other works there are which, it is true, deserve a 
little more respect. Their intention, at least, is good. 
Their end and their means are beyond reproach. And 
yet, because their organizers have lirtle more than 
a wavering faith in the power of the supernatural life 
to act upon souls, their results, in spite of great 
efforts, are either totally, or at any rate almost totally, 

To give a precise idea of what a good work ought 
to be, let us quote a man whose apostolic work is the 
pride of his district, and recall the lessons he gave to 
us at the beginning of our priestly ministry. We were 
interested in the formation of a club for young men. 
Having visited the Catholic clubs of Paris and a few 
other French cities, the work going on at Val-des- 
Bois, and so on, we went to Marseilles to study the 
work done for Catholic youth by the saintly Father 
Allemand and the venerable Canon Timon-David. 
We rejoice to recall the emotions in our hearts (as a 
young priest) on hearing the latter speak as follows: 
"Bands, theatricals, lantern- lectures, movies — I do 
not condemn all that. When I started out, I too 
thought no one could do without them. And yet 
they are nothing but crutches, to be used when there 
is no alternative left. However, the further I ad- 
vance, the more my end and my means become super- 
natural because I see more and more clearly that 
every work built upon a merely human foundation is 



bound to collapse, and that only the work that aims 
at bringing men closer to God by the interior life is 
blessed by Providence.” 

"Our band-instruments have been relegated to the 
attic for a long time, and our stage has become use- 
less, and yet the work is going on better than ever 
before. Why? Because, thanks be to God, my priests 
and I see much clearer and straighter than before, 
and our faith in the action of Christ and of grace has 
increased a hundred per cent.” 

"Take my advice, do not be afraid to aim as high 
as you possibly can, and you will be astonished at the 
results. Let me explain: do not merely have, as your 
ideal, to give the youth a selection of clean amuse- 
ments that will turn them aside from illicit pleasures 
and dangerous associations, nor simply to give them 
a Christian varnish, through routine attendance at 
Mass, or the reception of the Sacraments at long 
intervals and with questionable dispositions. 

"Launch out into the deep . 20 Let your ambition 
be, first of all, the noble one of making a certain num- 
ber of them, at any cost, take the firm resolution of 
living as fervent Christians; that is, of making their 
mental prayer every morning, going to Mass every 
day, if they can, and doing a little spiritual reading, 
besides going frequently to Communion, and fervent- 
ly too. Put all your efforts into giving this select 
group a great love for Jesus Christ, the spirit of self- 
denial, prayer, vigilance over themselves; in a word, 
solid virtues. And take no less trouble to develop in 
their souls a hunger for the Holy Eucharist. And 
then stir up these young men to act upon their com- 
panions. Train them as frank, devoted apostles, 
kind, ardent, manly, not narrow-minded in their 
piety, but full of tact, and never making the sad 

20 Due in altum (Luc. v:4). 



mistake of spying on their comrades under pretext 
of zeal. Before two years have gone by, come and 
tell me whether you still need a lot of brass or stage- 
sets to catch your fish.” 

"I understand,” I replied, "this minority will be the 
leaven. But what about the others that you will 
never be able to bring up to that level — what about 
the group as a whole, the youths of all ages and even 
the married men who will join the club we are plan- 
ning: what are we going to do with them?” 

"You are going to build up a strong faith in them, 
by a series of well prepared talks, which will take up 
many of their winter evenings. Your Christians will 
go out, after these talks, well enough armed not only 
to give complete and effective answers to their fellows 
in the various plants and offices, but also to resist 
the more treacherous action of newspapers and books. 
If you can give men unshakable convictions which 
they will know how to affirm if they have to, with- 
out regard to human respect, you will (already) have 
achieved a result that is not to be despised. But still, 
you will have to take them further yet, and give 
them piety, genuine and ardent piety, based on con- 
viction and full of understanding.” 

"Shall I open the doors to all comers right from 
the start?” I asked him. 

"Numbers will be no use to you unless every one 
is handpicked. Let the growth of your club depend, 
most of all, on the influence exercised by the nucleus 
of apostles, the center of which will be Jesus and 
Mary, with you as their instrument.” 

"The premises won’t be very impressive. Should 
I wait until we can raise the money for something 

"Well, when someone is starting out, spacious, 
comfortable rooms may serve as a big drum to ad- 



vertise your new enterprise, and draw attention to it. 
But, I repeat, if you know how to build your club on 
the foundation of an ardent, complete, and apostolic 
Christian life, the barest minimum, in the way of 
premises, will always be enough to accommodate all 
the accessories demanded by the normal functioning 
of the club. Don’t worry! You will soon find out 
that noise does not do much good — and that what 
is good doesn’t make much noise. And you will see 
that a good clear understanding of the Gospel will 
cut down your expenses and, far from hurting your 
success, it will promote it! But above all, you will 
have to pay the price yourself, not so much by wearing 
yourself out rehearsing plays or getting up football 
games, as by storing up in yourself the life of prayer. 
For you can be sure that the extent to which you 
yourself are able to live on the love of Our Lord 
will be the exact measure of your ability to stir it up 
in other people.” 

"What it all comes to, then, is that you base every- 
thing on the inner life.” 

"Yes, absolutely. That way, you don’t merely get 
an alloy, but pure gold. Besides, speaking from long 
experience, I know you can apply what I have just 
said about youth-clubs to any kind of work — parish- 
es, seminaries, catechism classes, schools, soldiers’ 
and sailors’ groups, and so on. How much good a 
Christian society, really living on the supernatural 
level, can do in a city! It works there like a strong 
leaven, and only the angels can tell you how many 
souls are saved because of it.” 

"Ah,” he concluded, "if only the majority of 
priests and religious and workers in Catholic action 
knew what a powerful lever they have in their hands, 
once that lever takes advantage of the Heart of Jesus 
as a fulcrum. Living in union with that Divine Heart 



they would soon transform our country! Yes indeed, 
they would bring our land to life, in spite of all the 
efforts of Satan and his slaves.” 21 

4. The Active and Interior Lives Are Completely 

Just as the love of God is shown by acts of the 
interior life, so the love of our neighbor manifests 
itself by the works of the exterior life, and conse- 
quently the love of God and of our neighbor cannot 
be separated, and it follows that these two forms of 
life cannot exist without one another . 22 

And so, as Suarez points out, there cannot be any 
state that is properly and normally ordered to bring 
us to perfection, that does not at the same time share 
to some extent in both action and contemplation . 23 

The great Jesuit is simply commenting on the 
teaching of St. Thomas on this subject. The Angelic 
Doctor says that those who are called to the works 
of the active life would be mistaken if they thought 

21 The zealous canon who thus spoke to me and of whose 
conversation I retain so precious a memory has developed 
these thoughts in several fine books : Methodc dc Direction 
dcs O cmres de Jeuncsse; 2nd, Trait e de la Confession des 
Enfants et Jcancs Gens; 3rd, Souvenirs de I’oeuvre, on 
vie et mort de quelqucs Congrcganistes (Paris, Mignar 
Freres) . 

22 Sicut per contemplationcm amandus cst Dcus, ita per 
actualem vitam diligendus est proximus, ac per hoc, sic non 
possumus sine utraque esse vita, sicut et sine utraque di- 
lectione ncauaqttam esse possumus (St. Isidore, Different, 
ii :34, n. 135). 

Just as God is to be loved in contemplation, we must 
also love our neighbor through the active life, and 't follows 
that we cannot be without both these kinds of life iust as 
it is absolutely necessary for us to practice both kinds of 

23 Conccdendum cst nullum cssi\ posse vitae studium recte 
institution ad perfcctionem ohtinendam auod non aliquid de 
actione et de contcmplatione participet (Suarez, I. De Rclig. 
Tract., I, c. 5, n. 5). 



that this duty dispensed them from the contempla- 
tive life . 21 This duty is merely added to that of con- 
templation without diminishing its necessity. And so 
these two lives, far from excluding one another, de- 
pend on one another, presuppose one another, 
mingle together and complete one another. And if 
there is a question of giving greater importance to one 
than to the other, it is the contemplative life that 
merits our preference, as being the more perfect and 
the more necessary . 25 

Action relies upon contemplation for its fruitful- 
ness; and contemplation, in its turn, as soon as it has 
reached a certain degree of intensity, pours out upon 
our active works some of its overflow. And it is by 
contemplation that the soul goes to draw directly 
upon the Heart of God for the graces which it is the 
duty of the active life to distribute. 

And so, in the soul of a saint, action and contempla- 
tion merge together in perfect harmony to give per- 
fect unity to his life. Take St. Bernard, for example, 
the most contemplative and yet at the same time the 
most active man of his age. One of his contempo- 
raries has left us this admirable portrait of him: 
Contemplation and action so agreed together in him 

24 It may be necessary to point out that here, as every- 
where else, Dom Chautard uses the terms active and con- 
templative life not in the sense of the active or contemplative 
states, such as are explicitly intended as the aim of the va- 
rious active or contemplative religious orders, but merely 
in the sense of exterior works of virtue and of mercy on 
one hand, and interior union with God by prayer on the 
other. Every Christian is bound to practice both of these, 
and without them there is no Christian life. 

25 Cum aliquis a contcmplativa vita ad activam vocatur. 
non fit per modum substractionis, sed per moduni additionis 
(St. Thomas. 2a 2ae, q. 182, al, ad 3). 

When a man is called from the contemplative to the 
active life, he does not subtract anything from, but adds to 
his obligations. 



that the saint appeared to be at the same time entire- 
ly devoted to external works, and yet completely 
absorbed in the presence and the love of his God . 26 

Commenting on the text of sacred Scripture: "Put 
me as a seal upon thine heart and as a seal upon thine 
arm,” 27 Father Saint-Jure gives us a fine description 
of the relations of these two lives with each other. 
Let us, briefly, outline his thought: 

The heart stands for the interior, or contemplative 
life: the arm for the active, or exterior life. 

The sacred text speaks of them as the heart and 
the arm, to show how the wo lives can be joined 
together and harmonize perfectly in the same person. 

The heart is mentioned first, because as an organ 
it is far more noble and more necessary than the arm. 
In the same way contemplation is much more ex- 
cellent and perfect, and deserves far greater esteem 
than action. 

The heart goes on beating day and night. Let this 
all-important organ stop, even for a moment, and 
immediate death would result. The arm, however, 
merely an integral part of the human body, only 
moves from time to time. And thus, we ought some- 
times to seek a little respite from our outward works, 
but never on the other hand, relax our attention to 
spiritual things. 

The heart gives life and strength to the arm by 
means of the blood which it sends forth; otherwise, 
that member would wither up. And in the same way, 
the contemplative life, a life of union with God. 
thanks to the light and the constant assistance the 

- (; Interior i quadam, quoin ubiqne ipse circuwfercbat. soli - 
tinlinc frnebatur, totus quodannnodo cxlcrius laborabat . et 
fotus intcrius Deo racabot (Geoffrey of Auxerre, Vila Bcr- 
uardi. I. 5 : also III) . 

27 Pone me ? tt signacnhim super cor fuum, ut signaculum 
super brachium tumn (Cant, viii :6) . 



soul receives fom this closeness to Him, gives life to 
our external occupations, and it alone is able to 
impart to them at the same time a supernatural char- 
acter and a reed usefulness. But without contempla- 
tion, everything is sick and barren and full of im- 

Man, unfortunately, too often separates what has 
been united by God, and consequently this perfect 
union is rarely found. Besides, it depends for its 
realization upon a number of precautions that are 
too often neglected. We must not undertake any- 
thing that is beyond our strength. We must habitu- 
ally, but simply, see the will of God in everything. 
We must never get mixed up in words that are not 
willed for us by God, but only when, and to the ex- 
tent that, He wants to see us engaged in them, and 
only out of the desire to practice charity. From the 
very start, we must offer our work to Him, and dur- 
ing the course of our labors, we must often make use 
of holy thoughts and ardent aspiratory prayers to 
stir up our resolution to act only for and by Him. 
For the rest, no matter how much attention our work 
may require, we must keep ourselves always at 
peace, and always remain completely masters of our- 
selves. We must leave the successful outcome of the 
work entirely in the hands of God, and desire to see 
ourselves delivered from all care only in order that 
we may be, once again, alone with Jesus Christ. Such 
are the extremely wise counsels of the masters of 
the spiritual life, to those who want to reach this 

This perseverance in the interior life which, in St. 
Bernard of Clairvaux, was united to a very active 
apostolate, made a great impression on St. Francis 
de Sales. "St. Bernard,” he said, "lost not a whit of 
the progress he desired to make in holy love. . . . He 



moved from place to place, but did not move in his 
heart nor did his heart’s love change, nor did his love 
change in its object ... he did not take upon himself 
the color of every business or of every conversation 
like a chameleon, taking the color of every place 
where it happens to be. But he remained ever united 
to God, ever white in his purity, ever crimson in his 
charity, and ever full of humility.” 28 

At times, our duties will accumulate to such an 
extent that they will exhaust all our strength, not 
allowing us to get rid of our burden, nor even to 
make it any lighter. The result may possibly be that 
we will be deprived, for a more or less prolonged 
period, of the sense of our union with God, but the 
union itself will only suffer if we actually permit it to 
do so. If this condition should be prolonged, we 
must feel suffering on account of it, we must lament 
it, and we must, above all, fear that we may become 
used to it. 

Man is weak and without constancy. If he neg- 
lects his spiritual life, he soon loses the taste for it. 
Absorbed in material duties, he gets to take satisfac- 
tion in them. But on the other hand, if the interior 
spirit gives signs of its latent vitality by pain and re- 
pugnance, the ceaseless complaints that issue from a 
wound that refuses to close, even in the midst of im- 
tense activity, these sufferings will themselves make 
up all the merit of our sacrificed contemplation. 
Rather, it is in this that the soul realizes the admi- 
rable and fruitful union of the interior and active 
lives. Maddened by the thirst for the interior life, 
a thirst which there is no time to quench, the soul 
returns as soon as possible to the life of prayer. 
Our Lord will never fail to make room for a few 
moments’ colloquy. But he demands that we be 

28 Spirit of St. Frauds de Sales, Part xvii, ch. 2. 



faithful to these opport unities, and gives us grace 
to make up, by our ferror, for the brevity of these 
happy moments. 

St. Thomas admirably sums up this doctrine in a 
passage of which every word deserves to be carefully 
pondered: "The contemplative life is, in itself, more 
meritorious than the active life. Nevertheless, a man 
may happen to gain more merit by performing some 
exterior act; if, for instance, he endures, for a time, 
to be deprived of the sweetness of divine contempla- 
tion, in order, on account of the abundance of the 
love of God and for His glory, to fulfill God’s 
will.” 29 

We note what a great number of conditions the 
holy doctor lays down, to be fulfilled before active 
life can become more meritorious than contempla- 

The inmost cause that moves the soul to active 
works is nothing else but the overflow of its charity: 
proper abundantiam divini amoris. Therefore, it is 
not a matter of excitement, or caprice, nor of the 
craving to get out of ourself. Indeed, it is a source of 
suffering for the soul. Sustinet, it "endures” the priva- 
tion of the swetness of the life of prayer; 30 a dulce- 

29 Ex suo gencre contemplativa vita majoris cst meritx 
quam activa. . . . Potest tamen contingere quod aliquis in 
operibus vitae activae’ plus mereatur quam alius in o peri- 
bus vitae contemplativae ; puta si propter abundantiam dhnni 
amoris , ut ejus voluntas impleatur , propter ipsius gloriam , 
interdum sustinet a dulcedine divinae contemplationis ad 
tempus separari (2a 2ae, q. 182, a. 2). 

St. Thomas goes on to quote St. Chrysostom, who inter- 
preted St. Paul's desire to be “an anathema from Christ 
for his brethren’’ in the above sense. 

30 Since this “sweetness” resides principally in the “sum- 
mit” of the soul, it is quite compatible with dryness : ex- 
superat omnem sensum. It transcends all feelings. The logic 
of pure faith, cold and dry in itself, is enough to allow the 



dine div'tnac contemplationis . . . separari. Further- 
more, rhe sacrifice is only temporary: acciderc — in- 
ter dum — ad. temp us, and it is only for a purely su- 
pernatural end — the fulfilling of God’s will, and 
giving Him glory. Finally, what is sacrificed is only a 
part of the time to be given to prayer. 

How full of wisdom and goodness God’s ways are! 
How wonderfully He directs souls, by means of the 
interior life! This deep sorrow at having to devote so 
much time to the works of God and so little to the 
God of works, this sorrow which persists in the midst 
of action and which, nevertheless, we generously 
offer up to Him, has its compensations. Thanks to 
this pain, we are freed from all dangers of dissipa- 
tion, self-love, natural feelings of pride, etc. Far 
from hurting our freedom of spirit or our aedvity, 
this disposition in our souls imparts to them a more 
deliberate character. It is the practical way to keep 
in the presence of God, because now the soul, in the 
grace of the present moment, is able to find the liv- 
ing Christ, giving Himself to us, concealed in the 
work that we have to perform. Jesus works with us 
and sustains us. How many persons in responsible 
positions owe to this salutary suffering once it has 
been well understood, to this desire, persistent 
though sacrificed, to visit the Blessed Sacrament, to 
these almost incessant spiritual communions — how 
many owe to all this not only the splendid results of 
their work, but even the safety of their souls and 
their progress in virtue? 

will to enflame the heart with supernatural fire, always 
with the help of grace. 

Saint Jane Chantal, who was one of the souls who had 
most to suffer in mental prayer, left to her daughters a 
spiritual legacy when she was on her deathbed at Moulins. 
It was the principle that had led her to base her life on this 
argument of faith : “The (/rentes! hapf>i)iess here below is to 
be able to converse zvith God.” 



5. The Excellence of This Union 

The union of the two lives, contemplative and 
active, constitutes the true apostolate, the chief work 
of Christianity: principalissimum officium, as St. 
Thomas says. 11 

The apostolate implies souls capable of being car- 
ried away with enthusiasm for an idea, of consecrat- 
ing themselves to the triumph of a principle. When 
the realization of this ideal is supernaturalized by the 
interior spirit, and when our zeal, in its end, its cen- 
ter, and its means is quickened by the spirit of Christ, 
we shall have the life which is in itself the most 
perfect of all, the highest possible life, since the the- 
ologians prefer it even to simple contemplation: 
praefertur simplici contemplatione : V1 

The apostolate of a man of prayer is the word of 
the Gospel, conquering with the mandate of God; 
it is the zeal for souls, the ripening of conversions for 
the harvest: rnissio a Deo, zelus animarum, fructi- 
fcat'to auditorum . 33 

It is a vapor rising from faith, breathing forth 
health-giving exhalations: zelus, id est vapor fideid 4 

The apostolate of the saints sows seed all over the 
world. The apostle casts into souls the wheat of 
God. 3 " It is a blazing fire of love that devours the 
earth, the great fire of Pentecost, spreading un- 
checked across the nations of the world. "I am come 
to cast fire on the earth.” 36 

The sublimity of this ministry lies in the fact that 
is provides for the salvation of others, without dan- 
ger to the apostle himself: sublimatur ad hoc ut aliis 

31 III, a. 67, a. 2, ad i. 

32 St. Thomas. 

33 St. Bonaventure. 

34 St. Ambrose. 

3r> Fr. Leon, passim, op. cit. 

36 Ignem vcni mittcrc in terrain (Luc. xii:49). 



provident. To transmit divine truths to the intellects 
of men! Is not this ministry worthy of angels? 

It is a good thing to contemplate the truth, and 
better still to pass it on to others. To reflect the 
light is something more than simply to receive it. It 
is better to give light, than to shine under a bushel. 
By contemplation the soul is fed: by the apostolate, 
it gives itself away. Sicut majus est illuminare quam 
lucere solum, ita majus est contemplata aliis tradere 
quamsolum contemplared" 

Contemplata aliis tradere: prayer remains at the 
source of this ideal of the apostolate. Such is the 
unmistaking meaning of St. Thomas. 

This passage, like the words of the holy doctor that 
were quoted at the end of the preceding chapter, are 
an open condemnation of so-called "Americanism,” 
the partisans of which envisage a mixed life in which 
contemplation is strangled by activity. 

Two things are implied by this text. 1. That the 
soul is already habitually living a life of prayer, and 
doing so with sufficient intensity not to need to draw 
upon anything but its surplus, for others. 2. That 
action must not supersede the life of prayer, and that 
the soul, while spending itself, must be so well 
trained in keeping watch over its heart that it runs no 
risk of withdrawing its actions from the influence 
of Christ. 

The beautiful words of Fr. Matheo, apostle of the 
enthroning of the Sacred Heart in the home, exactly 
express the thought of St. Thomas in their own way: 
" The apostle is a chalice full to the brim with the 
life of Jesus, and his overflow pours itself out upon 

It is this mixture of action, with all its outpouring 

37 St. Thomas. 2a 2ae, q. 188, a. 6. 



of zeal, and of contemplation with its lofty flights, 
that produced the greatest of the saints: St. Denis, 
St. Martin, St. Bernard, St. Dominic, St. Brands of 
Assisi, St. Francis Xavier, St. Philip Neri, St. Alphon- 
sus — all of them just as ardent contemplatives as 
they were mighty apostles. 

Interior life and active life! Holiness within 
works! A powerful union, and a fruitful one. What 
miracles of conversion it can work! O God, send 
many apostles to Thy Church, but stir up in their 
hearts, already consumed with the desire to give 
themselves, a desperate sense of their need for the 
life of prayer. Grant to Thy workers this contempla- 
tive activity’, and active contemplation. Then Thy 
work will be done, and the workers of Thy Gospel 
will win those victories which Thou didst foretell to 
them before Thy glorious Ascension. 



1. Active Works, a Means of Sanctification for 

Interior Souls, Become, for Others, a Menace to 

Their Salvation 

A. Means of Sanctification. Our Lord cate- 
gorically demands that those whom He associates 
with His apostolate should not only persevere in their 
virtue, but make progress in it. Proof will be found 
on any page of St. Paul’s epistles to Titus and Tim- 
othy, and the words addressed in the Apocalypse to 
the Bishops of Asia. 

At the same time, as we proved at the outset, God 
wants active works. 

Consequently, if we were to view works, con- 
sidered in themselves, as an obstacle to sanctification, 
and assert that, although springing from the Divine 
Will , they necessarily slow down our advance to- 
wards perfection, it would be an insult, a blasphemy 
against the Wisdom and Goodness and Providence 
of God. 

Hence, the following dilemma is inescapable: 
either the apostolate, no matter what form it takes, 
if it is God’s will, not only does not bring about in 
itself as its effect any alteration in the atmosphere 
of solid virtue which ought to surround a soul that 
has a care for salvation and for spiritual progress, 
but it must also, and always, provide the apostle with 
a means of sanctification, so long as his apostolic 
work keeps within the due conditions. 


Or else the person whom God has chosen to work 
with Him, and who is therefore obliged to answer the 
divine call, will have every right to offer the activity, 
the troubles and cares undergone for the sake of the 
work commanded by Him, as legitimate excuses for 
his failure to sanctify himself. 

Now it is a consequence of the economy of the 
divine plan that God owes it to Himself to provide 
his chosen apostle with graces necessary to make dis- 
tracting business compatible not only with the as- 
surance of salvation but even with the acquisition of 
virtues which can lead as high as sanctity itself. 

God owes the kind of help He gave to His St. 
Bernards and St. Francis Xaviers to the humblest of 
his preachers of the Gospel, to the lowest teaching 
brother, to the most obscure nursing sister, in the 
measure required by each of them. Such aid is a 
real Debt of the Sacred Heart, owed by Him to His 
chosen instruments. Let us not fear to repeat it over 
and over again. And every apostle, provided he ful- 
fills the due conditions, should have an absolute con- 
fidence in his inviolable right to the graces demanded 
by a work whose very nature gives him a mortgage 
on the infinite treasure of divine aid. 

'A man who devotes himself to works of charity,” 
says Alvarez de Paz, "must not imagine that they 
will close the door of contemplation in his face, nor 
make him any less capable of practicing it. On the 
contrary, he must hold it as certain that they will 
even serve as an excellent preparation for it. This 
truth is vouched for not only by reason and the au- 
thority of the Fathers, but also by daily experience, 
for we may see certain souls engaged in works of 
charity for their neighbor, like hearing confessions, 
preaching, teaching catechism, visiting the sick, and 
so on, raised by God to so high a degree of content- 



plation that one may fairly compare them with the 
anchorites of old.” 1 

By the use of his term ' degree of contemplation” 
the eminent Jesuit, like all the other masters of the 
spiritual life, is talking of the gift of the spirit of 
prayer which is a sign of the superabundance of 
charity in a soul. 

The sacrifices exacted from us by active works 
draw so much supernatural value from the glory they 
give to God and from their effects in the sanctifica- 
tion of souls, and acquire from these sources such 
great wealth of merits, that a man vowed to the ac- 
tive life can, if he wills, rise himself each day a 
further degree in charity and union with God, that is 
to say, in sanctity. 

Of course, in certain cases, where there is a grave 
and proximate danger of formal sin, particularly 
against faith and the angelic virtue, God absolutely 
wills that a man give up works of charity. But apart 
from such a case, He gives to all His workers, the 
interior life as a means of becoming immune to dan- 
ger and of making progress in virtue. However, let 
us clearly define in what this progress consists. A 
paradox of the prudent and spiritual St. Theresa will 
help us to make our meaning clear: "Since I have 
been prioress, burdened with many duties and obliged 
to travel a great deal, I commit very many more 
faults. And yet, as I struggle generously and spend 
myself for God alone, I feel that I am getting closer 
and closer to Him.” Her weakness shows itself much 
more than it did in the peace and quiet of the 
cloister. The saint is aware of this, but does not let 
it cause her any worry. The completely supernatural 
generosity of her devotion to duty and her greatly 

1 Vol. Ill, bk. 4. 



increased efforts in the spiritual combat make up for 
everything by providing an opportunity for victories 
which largely outweigh the surprise faults of a weak- 
ness that was always there, but formerly only in a 
latent state. Our union with God, says St. John of 
the Cross, resides in the union of our will with His, 
and is measured entirely by that union. Instead of 
taking the mistaken view of spiritually which would 
see no possibility of progress in divine union except 
in tranquility and solitude, St. Theresa judges that 
it is rather an activity truly imposed on us by God 
and carried out under the conditions laid down by 
His will, which, by nourishing her spirit of sacrifice, 
her humility, her abnegation, her ardor and devotion 
for the Kingdom of God, serves to increase the in- 
timate union of her soul with Our Lord, who lives in 
her and gives life to her work; and it is thus that she 
advances on the road to sanctity 7 . 

Sanctity, as a matter of fact, consists above all in 
charity, and any apostolic work that is worthy of the 
name is simply charity in action. Probatio amoris, 
says St. Gregory, exhibitio est opens. The proof of 
love is in works of self-denial, and this proof of devo- 
tion is something God demands of all His workers. 

"Feed my lambs, feed my sheep,” is the form of 
charity which Our Lord demands of the apostle as a 
proof of the sincerity of his repeated protestations 
of love. 

St. Francis of Assisi did not believe he could be a 
friend of Christ unless his charity devoted itself to 
the salvation of souls. Non se amicum Christi repi-ta- 
bat nisi animus foveret quas ille redemit r 

2 He did not consider himself a friend of Christ unless 
lie cared for the souls redeemed by Him (St. Bonaventure, 
Life of St. frauds . c. ix). 



And if Our Lord looks upon all works of mercy, 
even corporal, as done to Himself, it is because He 
sees in each one of them the radiated light of the very 
same charity which animates the missionary or sus- 
tains the hermit in the privations, the struggles, and 
the prayers of the desert. 

The active life is concerned with the care of others. 
It treads the path of sacrifice, following Jesus, the 
worker and pastor, the missionary and wonder- 
worker, the healer and physician of all, the tireless 
and tender provider for all the needy here below. 

The active life remembers and is sustained by this 
word of the Master: "I am in the midst of you as he 
that serveth.” 3 4 "The Son of Man did not come to 
be ministered unto, but to minister.” 5 

It goes out into the byw’ays of human misery, 
speaking the word that enlightens, and sowing all 
about it a harvest of graces that will grow up into 
benefits of every sort. 

Thanks to the clear vision of its faith, thanks to 
the intuitions of its love, it discovers in the lowest of 
the wretched, in the most pitiful of sufferers, God 
naked, sorrowful, despised by all, the great leper, the 
mysterious condemned criminal, pursued and beaten 
to the ground by the blows of eternal justice, the Man 
of Sorrows whom Isaias saw rising up in the frightful 
wealth of His wounds, in the tragic purple of His 
Blood, so smashed and ravaged by the nails and by 
the whips of the scourging that He twisted like a 
worm under the heel that stamps out its life. 

3 As long as you did it to one of these My least brethren, 
you did it to Me (Matt. xxv:40). 

4 Hi/o autcm in medio vcsintin sum sieut qui ministraf 
(T.uc. xxii:27). 

'Filins hominls non venit ministrari sed ministrarc (Matt. 
xx: 28 ). 


'Thus we have seen Him,” cries the prophet, "and 
we have not recognized Him.” ' 

Yes, but thou, O active life, dost recognize Him: 
and falling on thy knees, with eyes full of tears, thou 
servest Him in the poor. 

The active life improves mankind. Enriching the 
world with its acts of generosity, with its work and 
with its toil and sacrifices, it sows merits for heaven. 

It is a holy life, rewarded by God, for He gives 
Paradise in return for a cup of cold water given by 
one poor man to another, just as well as for the doc- 
tor's learned tomes or for the labors of the apostle. 
At the last day, He will canonize all the works of 
charity before the face of heaven and earth together.' 

B. A Menace to Salvation. How often, alas, 
in private retreats which we have directed, have we 
noticed that active works, which ought to have been, 
for their organizers, a means of progress had turned 
into forces that undermined the whole edifice of their 
spiritual life. 

A very active and energetic man, invited by us, at 
the beginning of a retreat, to look into his conscience 
and seek out the principal cause of his unhappiness, 
gave a perfect diagnosis in this answer which may 
seem at first sight incomprehensible: 

6 Et vidimus cum et non erat aspcctus, et dcsideravimus 
cum, dcspcctum ct novissimum virorum , virum dolorum et 
scicntem infirmitatem : et quasi absconditus vultus ejus et 
despectus, unde nee reputavimus eum (Is. liii :2— 3 ) . 

And we have seen Him and there was no sightliness 
that we should be desirous of Him: despised and the most 
abject of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with in- 
firmity : and His look was, as it were, hidden and despised, 
whereupon wc esteemed Him not. 

7 Lumiere et Fiamme , P. Leon, O.M.Cap. Notice that in 
this quotation the author is speaking of an active life full 
of the spirit of faith, made fruitful by charity, and, conse- 
quently. springing from an intense interior life. 



"My self-sacrifice is what has ruined me! My na- 
ture and temperament make it a joy for me to spend 
myself, and a pleasure to serve. What with the ap- 
parent success of my enterprises, the devil has con- 
trived, for long years, to make everything work to- 
gether for my deception, stirring me up to furious 
activity, filling me with disgust for all interior life, 
and finally leading me over the edge of the abyss.” 

This abnormal, not to say monstrous state of mind 
can be explained in one word. The worker for God, 
carried away by the pleasure of giving free rein to 
his natural energy, had let the divine life fade out, 
and thus lost the supernatural heat which had been 
stored up in him to make his apostolate effective and 
which would have helped his soul to resist the en- 
croachments of the numbing ice of natural motives. 
He had worked, indeed, but far from the rays of the 
lifegiving sun. Magnae vires et cursus celerrimus, sed 
praeter viamd At the same time, his works, in them- 
selves very holy, had turned against the apostle like 
a weapon dangerous to wield, a two-edged sword 
which wounds the man who does not know how to 
use it. 

St. Bernard was warning Pope Bl. Eugenius III 
against just such a danger as this when he wrote: "I 
fear, lest in the midst of your occupations without 
number, you may lose hope of ever getting through 
with them, and allow your heart to harden. It would 
be very prudent of you to ivithdraw from such oc- 
cupations, even if it be only for a little while, rather 
than let them get the better of you, and, little by 
little, lead you where you do not want to go. And 
where, you will ask, is that? To indifference. 

8 Much strength and great speed, but all off the tracV 
(St. Augustine, In Psalm xxxi). 



"Such is the end to which these accursed tasks ( bae 
occupationes maledictae) will lead you; that is, if you 
keep on as you have begun, giving yourself entirely 
to them, keeping nothing of yourself, for yourself.’ 0 

Is there anything more lofty and more sacred than 
the government of the Church? Is there anything 
more useful for the glory of God and for the good of 
souls? And yet "accursed task,” St. Bernard calls 
them, if they are going to stand in the way of the 
interior life of the one who gives himself to them. 

What an expression, '’accursed tasks!” It calls for 
a whole book, so terrifying is it, and so powerfully 
does it force one to think! It might arouse protest 
did it not flow from the pen of one so precise as a 
Doctor of the Church, a St. Bernard. 

2. The Active Worker Who Has No Interior Life 

To sum such a one up in a word; perhaps he is not 
yet tepid, but he is bound to become so. However, 
when a man is tepid, with a tepidity that is not 
merely in the feelings, or due to weakness, but resid- 
ing in the will, that man has resigned himself to con- 
sent habitually to levity and neglect, or at any rate to 
cease fighting them. He has come to terms with de- 
liberate venial sin, and by that very fact, he has 
robbed his soul of its assurance of eternal salvation. 
Indeed, he is disposing and even leading it on to 
mortal sin . 10 

9 En quo traherc tc possunt hae occupationes maledictae, 
si tamen pergis ut coepisti, ita dare te to turn illis, nil tui 
tibi rclinquens (St. Bernard, De Consideratione, II, 2). 

10 It follows from St. Thomas’ teaching on habits ( la 
2ae, qq. lii, liii) that when a soul in the state of grace 
places an act that is good in itself, but below the degree 
of fervor which God has a right to expect from it in its 
present state, that act, in a sense, tends to diminish its de- 
gree of charity. The texts, “Cursed be he who does the 
work of God with negligence” and “Because thou art luke- 



Such also is St. Alphonsus’ teaching on tepidity, so 
well expounded by his disciple, Fr. Desurmont . 11 

Now how is it that, without an interior life, the 
active worker inevitably slides into tepidity'? Inevi- 
tably, we say; and the only proof we need for this 
is the statement of a missionary bishop to his priests, 
a statement all the more terrifying by its truth, since 
it comes straight from a heart consumed with zeal 
for good works and filled with a spirit that goes clean 
contrary to anything that smacks of quietism. "There 
is one thing,” said Cardinal Lavigerie, "one thing 
of which you must be fully persuaded, and it is that 
for an apostle there is no halfway between total sanc- 
tity, at least faithfully and courageously desired and 
sought after, and absolute perversion.” 

First let us go back to the seed of corruption fos- 
tered in our nature by concupiscence, and the fight to 
the death that is ever waged against us by your ene- 
mies, within as well as without. Let us go back to 
the dangers that threaten us on every side. 

warm I will commence to vomit thee from my mouth,” are 
explained in this sense. 

Furthermore, every venial sin, although it does not 
diminish the state of grace, does, as a matter of fact, di- 
minish its fervor. And it is thus that is disposes us to mortal 

But where there is not an intense interior life, deliberate 
venial sin will abound, and there will be many venial sins 
that are not even recognized as such, although they will be 
imputed to the lax and careless soul which has ceased to 
“watch and pray.” 

Thus we may find in St. Thomas an explanation for the 
phrase “accursed occupations” used above, and of all that is 
to be developed in the present chapter. 

Cf. la 2ae, q. lii, a. 3: Si veto intensio actus propor- 
tionaliter deficiat ab intensione habitus , talis actus non dis- 
ponit ad augmentum habitus sed magis ad diminutionem 

11 See note on tepidity, Part I, No. 3, ‘‘sixth truth,” page 
15. Cf. “ Le Retour Continuel a Dieu.” 



With this in mind, let us consider what happens 
to a soul that enters upon the apostolate without 
being sufficiently forewarned and forearmed against 
its dangers. 

Fr. (or Mr.) So-and-So feels within himself a 
growing desire to consecrate himself to good works. 
He has no experience whatever. But his liking for 
the apostolate gives us the right to suppose that he 
has a certain amount of fire, some impetuosity of 
character, is fond of action, and also perhaps, in- 
clined to relish a bit of a fight. Let us imagine him to 
be correct in his conduct, a man of piety and even to 
devotion; but his piety is more in the feelings than 
in the will, and his devotion is not the light reflected 
by a soul resolute in seeking nothing but the good 
pleasure of God, but a pious routine, the result of 
praiseworthy habits. Mental prayer, if indeed he 
practices it at all, is for him a species of day-dream- 
ing, and his spiritual reading is governed by curiosity, 
without any real influence on his conduct. Perhaps 
the devil even eggs him on by reason of an illusory 
artistic sense, which the poor soul mistakes for an 
"inner life,” to dabble in treatises on the lofty and 
extraordinary paths of union with God, and these 
fill him with admiration and enthusiasm. All in all, 
there is little genuine inner life, if any at all, in this 
soul which still has, we grant, a certain number of 
good habits, many natural assets and a certain loyal 
desire to be faithful to God; but that desire is alto- 
gether too vague. 

There you have our apostle, filled with his desire 
to throw himself into active works, and on the point 
of entering upon this ministry which is so completely 
new to him. It is not long before circumstances that 
inevitably arise from these works (as will readily be 
understood by anyone who has led the active life) 



produce a thousand-and-one occasions to draw him 
more and more out of himself; there are countless 
appeals to his naive curiosity, unnumbered occasions 
of falling into sin from which we may suppose he has 
hitherto been protected by the peaceful atmosphere 
of his home, his seminary, his community, or his 
novitiate — or at least by the guidance of an experi- 
enced director. 

Not only is there an increasing dissipation, or the 
ever growing danger of a curiosity that has to find 
out all about everything; not only more and more 
displays of impatience or injured feelings, of vanity or 
jealousy, presumption or dejection, partiality or de- 
traction, but there is also a progressive development 
of the .weaknesses of his soul and of all the more or 
less subtle forms of sensuality. And all these foes are 
preparing to force an unrelenting battle upon this 
soul so ill-prepared for such violent and unceasing 
attacks. And it therefore falls victim to frequent 

Indeed, it is a wonder when there is any resistance 
at all on the part of a soul whose piety is so super- 
ficial — a soul already captivated by the too natural 
satisfaction it takes in pouring out its energies and 
exercising all its talents upon a worthy cause! Be- 
sides, the devil is wide awake, on the look-out for 
his anticipated prey. And far from disturbing this 
sense of satisfaction, he does all in his power to en- 
courage it. 

Yet a day comes when the soul scents danger. The 
guardian-angel has had something to say: conscience 
has registered a protest. Now would be the time to 
take hold of himself, to examine himself in the calm 
atmosphere of a retreat, to resolve to draw up a 
schedule and follow it rigorously, even at the cost of 


neglecting the occasions of trouble to which he has 
become so attached. 

Alas! It is already late in the day! He has already 
tasted the pleasure of seeing his efforts crowned with 
the most encouraging success. "Tomorrow! tomor- 
row!” he mumbles. "Today, it is out of the question. 
There simply is no time. I have got to go on with 
this series of sermons, write this article, organize this 
committee, or that charity’, put on this play, go on 
that trip — or catch up with my mail.” How happy 
he is to reassure himself with all these pretexts! For 
the mere thought of being left alone, face to face 
with his own conscience, has become unbearable to 
him. The time has come when the devil can have a 
free hand to encompass the ruin of a soul that has 
shown itself disposed to be such a willing accomplice. 
The ground is prepared. Since activity has become a 
passion in his victim, he now fans it into a raging 
fever. Since it has become intolerable for him to 
even think of forgetting his urgent affairs and recol- 
lecting himself, the demon increases that loathing 
into sheer horror, and takes care at the same time to 
intoxicate the soul with fresh enterprises, skillfully 
colored with the attractive motives of God’s glory 
and the greater good of souls. 

And now our friend, up to so recently a man of 
virtuous habits, is going from weakness to ever great- 
er weakness, and will soon place his foot upon an in- 
cline so slippery that he will be utterly unable to 
keep himself from falling. Deep in his heart he is 
miserable, and vaguely realizes that all this agitation 
is not according to the Heart of God, but the only 
result is that he hurls himself even more blindly into 
the whirlpool in order to drown his remorse. His 
faults are piled up to a fatal degree. Things that used 
to trouble the upright conscience of this man are now 



despised as vain scruples. He is fond of proclaiming 
that a man ought to live with the times, meet the 
enemy on equal terms, and so he praises the active 
virtues to the skies, expressing nothing but scorn for 
what he disdainfully calls "the piety of a bygone 
day.” Anyway, his enterprises prosper more than 
ever. Everybody is talking about them. Each day 
witnesses some new success. "God is blessing our 
work,” exclaims the deluded man, over whom, to- 
morrow, perhaps the angels will be weeping for a 
mortal sin. 

How did this soul fall into so lamentable a state? 
Inexperience, presumption , vanity, carelessness, and 
cowardice are the answer. Haphazardly, without stop- 
ping to reflect on his inadequate spiritual resources, 
he threw himself into the midst of dangers. When 
his reserves of the interior life ran out, he found him- 
self in the position of an uncautious swimmer wdio 
has no longer the strength to fight against the cur- 
rent, and is being swept away to the abyss. 

Let us pause a moment to look back over the road 
that has been traveled, and to estimate the depth 
of the fall. 

First Stage. The soul began by progressively los- 
ing the clarity and power (if ever it had any at all) 
of its convictions about the supernatural life, the 
supernatural world, and the economy of the plan and 
of the action of Our Lord with regard to the relation 
between the inner life of the apostle and his w r orks. 
He ceases to see these works except through a delu- 
sive mirage. In a subtle way, vanity comes to act as 
a pedestal to his supposed good intentions. "What 
else can I do? God has given me the gift of oratory, 
and I thank Him for it,” was the reply made by a 
certain preacher, puffed up with vain complacency, 
and totally extroverted, to those who are flattering 



him. The soul seeks itself more than it seeks God. 
The foreground is completely taken up by reputation, 
glory, and personal interests. The text, "If 1 pleased 
men, I should not be the servant of Christ,” 12 be- 
comes, to him, something altogether without mean- 

Besides ignorance of principles, the lack of super- 
natural foundations which characterizes this stage has 
sometimes as its cause and sometimes as its immedi- 
ate result, dissipation, forgetfulness of God’s pres- 
ence, giving up ejaculatory prayers and custody of 
the heart, want of delicacy of conscience and of regu- 
larity of life. Tepidity is close at hand, if it has not 
already begun. 

Second Stage. If the worker were a supernatural 
soul, being a slave of duty he would be greedy of his 
time, and regulate its use, living by a schedule. He 
would well realize that otherwise he would be liv- 
ing purely from morning to night. 

But if he has no supernatural basis, he will soon 
find out about it. Since there is no spirit of faith 
governing his use of his time, he gives up his spiritual 
reading. Or else, if he still reads anything at all, he 
makes no studies. It was all right for the Fathers of 
the Church to spend the whole week preparing their 
Sunday sermons! For him, unless his vanity is at 
stake, he prefers to improvise. Yet his improvisa- 
tions always hit it off with singular aptness — at 
least that is what be thinks! He likes to read maga- 
zines rather than books. He has no method. He flut- 
ters about from one thing to another like a butterfly. 
The law of work, that great law of preservation, of 
morality and of penance, is something he manages to 

12 Si adhuc hominibus placerem, Christi servns non es- 
seni (Gal. i:10). 



escape by wasting his free time, and by the extreme 
pains he takes to provide himself with amusements. 

Anything that would interfere with his free and 
easy ways, he considers tiresome, and a mere matter 
of theory — nothing practical. He does not have 
nearly enough time for all his works and social obli- 
gations, or even for what he deems the necessary care 
of his health, or his recreations. "Really,” says the 
devil to him, "you are giving too much time to pious 
exercises: meditation, office, Mass, work of the minis- 
try. Something has to be cut out!” Invariably he 
begins by shortening the meditation, by making it 
only irregularly, or perhaps he even gets to the point 
where, bit by bit, he drops it altogether. The one in- 
dispensable requisite for remaining faithful to his 
meditation — namely, getting up at the right time 
— is all the more logically abandoned since he has 
so many good reasons for having gone to bed late 
the night before. 

Now for a man in the active life to give up his 
meditation is tantamount to throwing down his arms 
at the feet of the enemy. "Short of a miracle,” says 
St. Alphonsus, "a man who does not practice mental 
prayer will end up in mortal sin.” And St. Vincent 
de Paul tells us: "A man without mental prayer is 
not good for anything; he cannot even renounce the 
slightest thing. 'It is merely the life of an animal.’ ” 
Some authors quote St. Theresa as having said: 
"Without mental prayer a person soon becomes 
either a brute or a devil. If you do not practice men- 
tal prayer, you don’t need any devil to throw you 
into hell, you throw yourself in there of your own ac- 
cord. On the contrary, give me the greatest of all sin- 
ners; if he practices mental prayer, be it only for fif- 
teen minutes every day, he will be converted. If he 
perseveres in it, his eternal salvation is assured.” The 



experience of priests and religious vowed to active 
works is enough to establish that an apostolic worker 
who, under pretext of being too busy or too tired, or 
else out of repugnance, or laziness, or some illusion, 
is too easily brought to cut down his meditation to 
ten or fifteen minutes instead of binding himself to 
half an hour’s serious mental prayer from which he 
might draw plenty of energy and drive for his day’s 
work, will inevitably fall into tepidity of the will. 

In this stage, it is no longer a matter of avoiding 
imperfections. His soul is crawling with venial sins. 
The ever growing impossibility of vigilance over his 
heart makes most of these faults pass unnoticed by 
his conscience. The soul has disposed itself in such a 
manner that it cannot and will not see. How will 
such a one fight against things which he no longer 
regards as defects? His lingering disease is already 
far advanced. Such is the consequence of the second 
stage, which is characterized by the giving up of men- 
tal prayer and of daily schedule. 

Everything is now ripe for the — 

Third Stage, of which the symptom is neglect 
in the recitation of the BREVIARY. The prayer of 
the Church, which ought to give the soldier of Christ 
joy and strength to lift himself up, from time to time, 
and let God carry him in a flight high above the visi- 
ble world, has now become a very tiring duty to be 
borne with patience. The liturgical life, source of 
light, joy, strength, merit and grace for himself and 
for the faithful, is now nothing more than the oc- 
casion of a distasteful task, grudgingly discharged. 
The interior virtue of religion is more than affected 
by the disease. The fever for active works is begin- 
ning to dry it up altogether. The soul no longer sees 
the worship of God except insofar as it can be tied 
up with striking exterior display. The obscure and 



personal but heartfelt sacrifice of praise, of supplica- 
tion, of thanksgiving, of reparation, no longer means 
anything to such a man. In the old days, when he 
was reciting his vocal prayers, he used to say with 
legitimate pride, as though to enter into rivalry with 
a choir of monks: I too "shall sing to Thee in the 
sight of angels.” In conspectu angelorum psallam 
tibi . 13 The sanctuary of this soul, once fragrant with 
the liturgical life, has become a public thoroughfare 
where noise and disorder reign. Exaggerated worry 
over business and habitual dissipation are enough to 
multiply his distractions tenfold. And, for the rest, 
he fights these distractions with less and less vigor. 
"The Lord is not in noise.” 14 Genuine prayer is no 
longer to be found in this soul. He prays in a rush, 
with interruptions that have not the slightest justifi- 
cation; all is done neglectfully, sleepily, with many 
delays, putting it off until the last minute, at the risk 
of being finally overcome by sleep. And, perhaps, 
now and again, he skips parts of the office and leaves 
them out. All of this transforms what should be a 
medicine into a poison. The sacrifice of praise be- 
comes a long litany of sins, and sins which may end 
up by being more than venial. 

Fourth Stage. Everything links up. Deep calls 
to deep. Now it is the SACRAMENTS. They are 
received and administered, no doubt, as something 
worthy of respect; but there is no longer any sense 
of the vital energy contained in them. The presence 
of Jesus in the tabernacle or in the holy tribunal of 
Penance is no longer able to make the springs of 
faith shudder even to the depths of his soul. Even the 
Mass, the Sacrifice of Calvary, has become a closed 
garden. Of couse, the soul is still far from sacrilege 

13 Ps. cxxxvii :2. 

14 Non in commotione Dominus” (3 Reg. xix:ll). 

run soul of the apostolath 


— let us at least believe that much! But there is no 
longer any reaction to the warmth of the Precious 
Blood. His Consecrations are cold; his Communions 
tepid, distracted, superficial. A familiarity without 
respect, routine, maybe even repugnance, are lying 
in wait for him now. 

Thus deformed, the apostle lives outside of Christ, 
and as for the confidential words spoken by Jesus to 
His true friends: they are no longer for him. 

And yet, at long intervals, the heavenly Friend 
manages to reach him with a movement of remorse, a 
light, an appeal. He waits. He knocks. He ask to 
be let in. "Come to Me, poor wounded soul, won’t 
you come to Me? I will heal you.’’ Venite ad me 
omnes . . . et ego reficiam vosT" For I am your sal- 
vation: salus tua ego sumJ u I came to save that which 
was lost: Venit Filius hominis quaerere et salvum 

facer e quod perierat.” 17 So gentle, so kind, so discreet, 
so urgent, this voice brings moments of emotion, and 
sentimental, evanescent urges to do better. But the 
door of the heart is only slightly ajar. Jesus cannot 
get in. These good movements in the tepid soul come 
to nothing at all. Grace goes by in vain, and will 
turn against the soul. Perhaps Jesus, in His mercy, 
to avoid piling up a huge store of wrath, will even 
cease His appeals. "Fear Jesus passing by, and never 
returning.’’ 18 

Now, let us go further and penetrate even into the 
depths of this soul whose features we are sketching. 

Thoughts play a most important part in the Super- 
natural, as well as in the moral and intellectual life. 
Now what are the thoughts that occupy this man, 

15 Matt, xi :28. 

16 Psalm xxxiv :3. 

17 Luc. xix :10. 

1S Time Jesmn transcuntem et non rcvertentem. 



and what direction do they take? Human, earthly, 
vain, superficial, and egotistical, they converge more 
and more upon self or upon creatures, and that, some- 
times, with every appearance of devotion to duty 
and of sacrifice. 

This disorder in the mind brings with it a corre- 
sponding unruliness in the imagination. Of all our 
powers, this one is the most in need of being re- 
pressed at this stage. And yet it never even occurs to 
him to put on the brakes! Therefore, having free 
rein, it runs wild. No exaggeration, no madness, is 
too much for it. And the progressive suppression of 
all mortification of the eyes soon gives this crazy 
tenant of his soul opportunities to forage wherever 
it wills, in lush pastures! 

The disorder pursues its course. From the mind 
and the imagination it gets down into the affections. 
The heart is filled with nothing but will-o’-the-wisps. 
What is going to become of this dissipated heart, 
scarcely concerned any more with the Kingdom of 
God within itself? It has become insensible to the 
joys of intimacy with Christ, to the marvelous poetry 
of the Mysteries, to the severe beauty of the Liturgy, 
to the appeals and attractions of God in the Blessed 
Eucharist. It is, in a word, insensible to the influences 
of the supernatural world. What will become of it? 
Shall it concentrate upon itself? Suicide! No. It 
must have affection. No longer finding happiness in 
God. it will love creatures. It is at the mercy of the 
first occasion for such love. It flings itself without 
prudence or control into the breach, without a care 
perhaps even for the most sacred of vows, nor for 
the highest interests of the Church, nor even for its 
own reputation. Let us suppose that such a heart 
would still be upset by the thought of apostasy — 


and profoundly so. But still, it feels far less fear at 
the thought of scandalizing souls. 

Thanks be to God, it is doubtless the exception for 
anyone to follow this course to the very limit. But 
is there anyone incapable of seeing that this getting 
tired of God, and accepting forbidden pleasures, can 
drag the heart down to the worst of disasters? Start- 
ing from the fact that "the sensual man perceiveth 
not the things that are of the Spirit of God,” i: ’ we 
must necessarily end up with: "He who was reared 
in the purple has embraced dung.” Obstinate cling- 
ing to illusion, blindness of mind, hardness of heart 
all follow one another in progressive stages. We 
can expect anything. 

To crown his misfortunes, the will is now found 
to be, though not destroyed, reduced to such a state 
of weakness and flabbiness that it is practically im- 
potent. Do not ask him to fight back with vigor; 
that would make a simple effort, and all you will get 
will be the despairing answer, "I can’t.” Now a man 
who is no longer capable of making any effort, at this 
stage, is on the way to dreadful calamities. 

A well-known enemy of the Church dared to say 
that he was unable to believe in the fidelity of certain 
persons to their vows and obligations, since they were 
forced by their works to mix freely in the life of the 
world. "They are walking a tightrope,” he said, 
"they are bound to fall.” We must answer this in- 
sult to God and His Church by replying, without 
hestitation, these falls can be MOST CERTAINLY 
avoided when one knows how to use the precious bal- 

19 Animalis homo non intelligit quae sunt Spiritus Dei 
(I Cor. ii :14). 

20 Qui nutrtebantur in croceis amplexati sunt stercora 
f Lam. Jerem. iv :5). 



anting pole of the interior life. It is only the aban- 
donment of this INFALLIBLE instrument that brings 
dizziness and the fatal false step into space. 

That admirable Jesuit, Fr. Lallemant, takes us 
right back to the first cause of these disasters when 
he says: "There are many apostolic workers who 
never do anything purely for God. In all things, they 
seek themselves, and they are always secretly min- 
gling their own interests with the glory of God in the 
best of their work. And so they spend their life in 
this intermingling of nature and grace. Finally death 
comes along, and then alone do they open their eyes, 
behold their deception, and tremble at the approach 
of the formidable judgment of God.” 21 

Far be it from us, of course, to include among 
these self-preaching apostles so zealous and powerful 
a missionary as was the famous Fr. Combalot. But 
surely it is not out of place at this point, to quote 
what he said at the approach of death. The priest 
who had just administered the last Sacraments said 
to him: "Have confidence, dear friend. You have 
preserved all your priestly integrity, and your thou- 
sands of sermons will argue in your behalf before 
God, to excuse this lack of inner life of which you 
speak.” "My sermons!” cried the dying man, "Oh 
what a light I see them in now! My sermons! If 
Our Lord is not the first in bringing up the subject 
of them, you can be sure that I won’t mention it!” 
In the light of eternity, this venerable priest saw, in 
the very best of his good works, imperfections that 
filled his conscience with alarm, and which he attrib- 
uted to a lack of interior life. 

Cardinal du Perron, at the hour of his death, ex- 
pressed his sorrow at having been more devoted, dur- 

21 P. I.allemant, Doct. Spirit. 


ing his life, to perfecting his intellect by science than 
his will by the exercises of the interior life. 

O Jesus, Thou Apostle above all others, did any- 
one ever spend himself as much as Thou, when Thou 
didst live among us? Today Thou dost give Thyself 
more generously still by Thy Eucharistic life, with- 
out, for all that, ever leaving the bosom of Thy 
Father. "Would we were unable to forget that Thou 
dost not want to know our works unless they be 
animated by a truly Supernatural principle; unless 
they be rooted deep in Thv adorable Heart. 

3. The Interior Life: Basis of the Holiness of the 
Apostolic Worker 

Since holiness is nothing but the interior life car- 
ried to such a point that the will is in close union 
with the will of God, ordinarily, and short of a 
miracle of grace, the soul will not arrive at this point 
without traveling through all the stages of the purga- 
tive and illuminative lives — and that with many 
and grueling efforts. Let us take note of a law of the 
spiritual life, that all through the course of the sanc- 
tification of a soul, the activity’ of God and that of 
the soul are in inverse proportion to one another. 
From day to day God does more and more of the 
work, and the soul does less and less. 

The activity 7 of God in the souls of the perfect is 
something quite different from His activity in the 
souls of beginners. In the latter, being less obvious, 
it consists mostly in inciting and sustaining vigilance 
and suppliant prayer, thus offering them a means of 
obtaining grace for new efforts. But. in the perfect 
God acts in a much more complete fashion, and 
sometimes all He asks is a simple consent, that will 
unite the soul to His supreme action. 



Beginners, even the tepid soul and the sinner, 
whom the Lord wants to draw close to Himself, feel 
themselves first of all moved to seek God, then to 
prove to Him more and more their desire of pleasing 
Him, and finally to rejoice in all providential op- 
portunities that permit them to dislodge self-love 
from its throne and set up, in its place, the reign of 
Christ alone. In such cases, the action of God is con- 
fined to stimulation and to help. 

In the saint this action is far more powerful and 
far more entire. In the midst of weariness and suffer- 
ing, satiated with humiliations or crushed by illness, 
the saint has nothing to do but abandon himself to 
the divine action; otherwise he would be unable to 
bear the torments which, according to the designs of 
God, are intended to bring his perfection to full ma- 
turity. In him is fully realized the text: "God put 
all things under Him that God may be all in all.” 22 
He depends so completely upon Christ for all things 
that he seems no longer to live by himself. Such was 
the testimony of the apostle, with regard to himself: 
"I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me.” 23 It is 
the spirit of Christ alone that does the thinking 
and the acting, and makes all the decisions. No 
doubt this divinization is far from achieving the in- 
tensity that it will have in glory, and yet this state 
already reflects the characteristics of the beatific 

Is there any need to point out that all this is far 
from being the case with a beginner, or a tepid soul, 
or with one that is merely fervent? There exists a 
whole series of means adapted to their states, means 

22 Deus subjicit sibi omnia ut sit Deus omnia in omnibus. 
(I Cor. xv:28). 

23 Vivo autem jam non ego, vivit vero in me Christus 
(Gal. ii :20). 



which, as a matter of fact, can serve one of these 
types just as well as the other. But the beginner, 
like an apprentice, will have much trouble, will ad- 
vance slowly; and, in short, will not accomplish very 
much. The fervent man, already a skilled workman, 
will do his job fast and well, and, with little diffi- 
culty, will gain much more profit. 

But no matter what class of apostles we may be 
discussing, the intentions of Providence in regard to 
them are always the same. God desires that always, 
and in all these souls, active work should be a means 
of sanctification. But whereas for the soul that has 
arrived at sanctity the apostolate offers no serious 
danger, does not exhaust his strength and provides 
him with abundant opportunities to grow in virtue 
and in merit, we have seen how rapidly it brings on 
spiritual anemia, and consequently regression on the 
road to perfection, in souls only feebly united with 
God — souls in whom the love of prayer, the spirit 
of sacrifice, and above all habitual watchfulness over 
the heart are but poorly developed. 

This habit of vigilance will never be refused by 
God when He sees insistent prayer and repeated 
proofs of fidelity. He pours it without measure upon 
a generous soul who, by unceasing new-beginnings, 
has managed to transform its power and make them 
supple in responding to the inspirations from above, 
and capable of joyfully accepting contradiction and 
failure, loss and deception. 

Let us consider six main features of the way the 
interior life filters into a soul to establish it in genu- 
ine virtue. 



a. It Protects the Soul Against the Dangers of the 
Exterior Ministry 

"It is more difficult to live well, when one has 
care of souls, on account of the dangers from with- 
out,” says St. Thomas . 24 We have spoken of these 
dangers in the preceding chapter. 

While the active worker who has no interior spirit 
is unaware of the dangers arising from his work, 
and thus resembles an unarmed traveler passing 
through a forest infested with brigands, the genuine 
apostle, for his part, dreads them and each day he 
takes precautions against them by a serious examina- 
tion of conscience which reveals to him his weak 

If the interior life did nothing more than procure 
for us the advantage of realizing our incessant danger, 
it would already be contributing very much to our 
protection against surprises along our way; for to 
foresee a danger is half the battle in avoiding it. 
And yet the inner life has an even greater utility 
than merely this. It becomes, for the man engaged 
in the ministry, a complete set of armor. "Put you 
on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand 
against the deceits of the devil .” 25 It is a divine 
armor which permits him not only to resist the temp- 

24 Difficilius est bene convcrsari cum cur a aniinarum prop- 
ter cxtcriora pcricula (2a 2ae. q. 184. a. 8). 

25 Put you on the armor of God that you may he able 
to stand against the deceits of the devil . . . that you may 
he able to resist in the evil day and to stand in all things 
perfect. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with 
truth, and having on the breastplate of justice. And your 
feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace: in all 
things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be 
able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. 
And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword 
of the spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians vi:ll- 

17 ). 



tations and avoid the snares set before him by the 
devil (that you may be able to resist in the evil day), 
but also to sanctify his every act (and stand in all 
things perfect). 

It girds him with purity of intention, which con- 
centrates all his thoughts, desires, and affections upon 
God and keeps him from going astray and seeking 
his own comfort, pleasures, and distractions: "having 
your loins girt about with truth.” 

It puts on him the breastplate of charity, which 
gives him a manly heart and defends him against the 
seductions of creatures and of the spirit of the world, 
as well as against the assaults of the demon: "having 
on the breastplate of justice.” 

He is shod with discretion and reserve in order that 
in all that he does he may know how to combine 
the simplicity of the dove and the prudence of the 
serpent: "And your feet shod with the preparation 
of the Gospel of peace.” 

Satan and the world will try to deceive his intellect 
with the sophisms of false doctrine, and to sap his 
energies with the enticements of lax principles. But 
the interior life faces all these lies with the shield 
of faith, which keeps ever before our eyes the splen- 
dor of the divine ideal: "In all things taking the 
shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to ex- 
tinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one.” 

The soul will find, in the knowledge of its own 
nothingness, in care for its own salvation, in the con- 
viction that we can do absolutely nothing without 
grace, and consequently need at all times insistent, 
suppliant, and frequent prayer (all the more effica- 
cious in proportion to its confidence) — in all this 
the soul will find a brazen helmet against which all 
the blows of pride are dulled: "take unto you the 
helmet of salvation.” 



Thus armed from head to foot, the apostle can give 
himself without fear to good works, and his zeal, 
enkindled by meditation on the Gospel and fortified 
by the Bread of the Eucharist, will become a sword 
that will serve him both in combat against the ene- 
mies of his own soul and in conquest of a host of 
souls for Christ: "the sword of the spirit, which is the 
word of God. 

b. It Renews the Strength of the Apostle 

Only a saint, as we have said, is able to keep intact 
the interior spirit and always direct all his thoughts 
and intentions to God alone, in the midst of a welter 
of occupations, and in habitual contact with the 
world. In such a one, every outlay of external activi- 
ty is so supernaturalized and enflamed with charity 
that, far from diminishing his strength, it brings with 
it, necessarily, an increase of grace. 

In other people, even fervent souls, the super- 
natural life seems to suffer loss after more or less 
time spent in exterior occupations. Their less perfect 
hearts, too preoccupied with the good to be done to 
their neighbor, too absorbed with a compassion (for 
the woes to be alleviated) that is not nearly Super- 
natural enough, seem to send up to God flames less 
pure, darkened with the smoke of numerous im- 

God does not punish this weakness by a decrease 
of His grace, and does not demand a strict account of 
these failings, provided there is a serious attempt at 
vigilance and prayer in the midst of action, and that 
the soul is ready, when its work is done, to return to 
Him and rest and regain its strength. This habit of 
constantly beginning over again, which is necessitated 
by the combination of the active with the interior 
life, gives joy to His paternal Heart. 



Besides, in those who really put up a fight, these 
imperfections become less and less serious and fre- 
quent in proportion as the soul learns to return, tire- 
lessly, to Christ, whom we will always find ready to 
say to us: "Come back to Me, poor panting heart, 
athirst with the length of the course. Come and find 
in these living waters the secret of new energy for 
other journeys. Withdraw thyself a little from the 
crowd that is unable to offer thee the nourishment 
required by thy exhausted strength. Come apart and 
rest a little . 2 6 In the peace and quiet thou shall enjoy 
being with Me, not only wilt thou soon recapture thy 
first vigor, but also wilt thou learn how to do more 
work with less expense of strength. Elias, disheart- 
ened, discouraged, found his strength renewed in an 
instant by a certain mysterious bread. Even so, My 
apostle, in this enviable task of co-redeemer that it 
has pleased Me to impose upon thee, I offer thee the 
chance, both by My word, which is all life, and by 
My grace, that is, by My Blood, to direct thy spirit 
once again towards the horizons of eternity and to 
renew the pact of friendship between thy heart and 
Mine. Come, I will console thee for the sorrows and 
deceptions of the journey. And thou shalt temper 
once again the steel of thy resolutions in the furnace 
of My love.” "Come to Me all you that labor and 
are heavily burdened and I will refresh you.” 27 

2 f> ]/ cnitc in locum descrtum seorsum ct rcquicscitc pusil- 
lum (Marc. vi:31V 

27 Veuitc ad me nmnes qui laboratis ct oncrati cstis , ct 
ego rcficiam vos (Matt. ix :28L In connection with these 
appeals of out Lord to souls of good will, we call their at- 
tention in a special manner to what is said further on page 
260 about learning custody of the heart . 



c. It Multiplies His Energies and His Merits 

"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace 
which is Christ Jesus.” 2S Grace is a participation in 
the life of the man-God. The creature possesses a 
certain measure of strength and can, in a certain 
sense, be qualified and defined as a force. But Christ 
is power in its very essence. In Him dwells in all 
its fullness the power of the Father, the omnipotence 
of divine action, and His Spirit is called the Spirit 
of Power. 

"O Jesus,” cries St. Gregory Nazianzen, "in Thee 
alone dwells all my strength.” "Outside of Christ,” 
says St. Jerome, in his turn, "I am powerlessness 

The Seraphic Doctor, in the fourth book of his 
Compendium Theologiae, enumerates the five chief 
characteristics which the power of Christ takes on in 
us. The first is that it undertakes difficult things and 
confronts obstacles with courage: "Have courage and 
let your heart be strong.” 2y 

The second is contempt for the things of this earth: 
"I have suffered the loss of all things and counted 
them but as dung that I may gain Christ.” 30 

The third is patience under trial: "Love is strong 
as death.” 31 

The fourth is resistance to temptation: "As a roar- 
ing lion he goeth about . . . whom resist ye, strong 
in faith.” 32 

The fifth is interior martydrom, that is, the testi- 

28 Tu ergo , fill mi, confortare in gratia (II Tim. ii : 1 ) . 

29 Viriliter agite et confortetur cor vestrum (Ps. xxx: 

30 Omnia detrimentum feci et arbitror ut stercora ut lucri- 
faciam Christum (Philipp. iii:8). 

31 Fortis ut mors dilectio (Cant. viii:6). 

32 Tamquam leo rugiens circuit . . . cui resistite fortes in 
fide (I Pet. v :8-9). 



mony not of blood but of one’s very life, crying out 
to Christ: "I want to belong to Thee alone.” It con- 
sists in fighting the concupiscences, in overcoming 
vice and in working manfully for the acquisition of 
virtues: "I have fought a good fight.” 

While the exterior man counts on his own natural 
powers, the man of interior life, on the other hand, 
sees them as nothing but helps; useful helps, no 
doubt, but far from being everything that he needs. 
The sense of his weakness and his faith in the power 
of God give him, as they did to St. Paul, the exact 
limit of his strength. When he sees the obstacles that 
rise up one after another before him, he cries out in 
humble pride: "When I am weak, then am I power- 
ful'’ 34 

"Without interior life,” says Pius X, "we will 
never have strength to persevere in sustaining all the 
difficulties inseparable from any apostolate, the cold- 
ness and lack of co-operation even on the part of 
virtuous men, the calumnies of our adversaries, and 
at times even the jealousy of friends and comrades in 
arms . . . Only a patient virtue, unshakably based 
upon the good, and at the same time smooth and 
tactful, is able to move these difficulties to one side 
and diminish their power.” 35 

By the life of prayer, comparable to the sap flow- 
ing from the vine into the branches, the divine power 
comes down upon the apostle to strengthen the 
understanding by giving it a firmer footing in faith. 
The apostle makes progress because this virtue lights 
his path with its clear brilliance. He goes forward 
with resolution because he knows where he wants to 
go. and how to arrive at his goal. 

33 Bon inn cerfamen certavi (II Tim. iv:7). 

34 Cum enim in firm or % tunc poicns sum (II Cor. xii:10). 

35 Encyclical of Pius X, June 11, 1905, to the Priests of 



This enlightenment is accompanied by such great 
supernatural energy in the will that even a weak and 
vacillating character becomes capable of heroic acts. 

Thus it is that the principle, "abide in Me ,” 36 
union with the Immutable, with Him who is the Lion 
of Juda and the Bread of the strong, explains the 
miracle of invincible constancy and perfect firmness, 
which were united, in so marvelous an apostle as was 
St. Francis de Sales, with a humility and tact beyond 
compare. The mind and the will are strengthened by 
the interior life, because love is strengthened. Christ 
purifies our love and directs and increases it as we 
go on. He allows us to share in the movements of 
compassion, devotion, abnegation, and selflessness of 
His adorable Heart. If this love increases until it be- 
comes a passion, then Jesus takes all the natural and 
supernatural powers of man, and exalts them to the 
limit, and uses them for Himself. 

Thus it is easy to judge what an increase of merit 
will flow from the multiplication of energies given 
by the interior life, when one remembers that merit 
depends less upon the difficulty that may be entailed 
by an action, than upon the intensity of charity with 
which it is carried out. 

d. It Gives Him Joy and Consolation 

Only a burning and unchangeable love is capable 
of filling a whole life with sunlight, for it is love that 
possesses the secret of gladdening the heart even in 
the midst of great sorrows and crushing fatigue. 

The life of an apostolic worker is a tissue of suffer- 
ings and hard work. What hours of sadness, anxiety, 
and gloom await the apostle who has not the con- 
viction that he is loved by Christ — no matter how 

36 Manete in me (Joan. xv:4). 



buoyant his character may be — unless perhaps the 
demon fowlers make the mirror of human consola- 
tions and of apparent success glitter before this 
simple bird, to draw him into their inextricable nets. 
Only the man-God can draw from a soul this super- 
human cry: "I exceedingly abound with joy in all our 
tribulation.” 37 In the midst of my inmost trials, the 
Apostle is saying, the summit of my being, like that 
of Jesus at Gethsemani, tastes a joy that, though it 
has nothing sensible about it, is so real that, in spite 
of the agony suffered by my interior self, 1 would not 
exchange it for all the joys of the world. 

When trials come, or contradiction, humiliation, 
suffering, the loss of possessions, even the loss of 
those we love, the soul will accept all these crosses in 
a far different manner than would have been the case 
at the beginning of his conversion. 

From day to day he grows in charity. His love has 
nothing spectacular about it, perhaps; the Master 
may give him the treatment accorded to strong souls 
and lead him through the ways of an ever more and 
more profound annihilation or by the path of expia- 
tion for himself and for the world. It matters little. 
Protected by his recollection, nourished by the Holy 
Eucharist, his love grows without ceasing, and the 
proof of this growth is to be found in the generosity 
with which he sacrifices and abandons himself; in the 
devotedness which urges him to press forward, care- 
less of the difficulty, to find those souls upon whom 
he is to exercise his apostolate with such patience, 
prudence, tact, compassion, and ardor as can only be 
explained by the penetration of the life of Christ in 
him. V ivit vero in me Christus. 

The Sacrament of love must be the Sacrament of 

37 Superabando gaudio in omni tribulatione nostra (II 
Cor. vii :4). 



Joy. There is no interior soul that is not at the same 
time a Eucharistic soul, and consequently, one who 
enjoys inwardly the gift of God, delights in His 
presence, and tastes the sweetness of the Beloved 
possessed within the soul and there adored. 

The life of the apostolic man is a life of prayer. 
And the Saint of Ars says: "The life of prayer is 
the one big happiness on this earth. O marvelous 
life! The wonder of the union of a soul with God! 
Eternity will not be long enough to understand this 
happiness .... The interior life is a bath of love, into 
which the soul may plunge entirely. . . . And there the 
soul is, as it were, drowned in love. . . . God holds 
the interior soul the way a mother holds her baby’s 
head in her hand, to cover him with kisses and 

Further, our joy is nourished when we contribute 
to cause the object of our love to be served and hon- 
ored. The apostle will know all these joys. 

Using active works to increase his love, he feels, 
at the same time, an increase of joy and consolation. 
A "hunter of souls” — Venator animarum — he has 
the joy of contributing to the salvation of beings that 
would have been damned, and thus he has the joy 
of consoling God by giving His souls from whom 
He would have been separated for eternity. And 
finally he has the joy of knowing that he thus obtains 
for himself one of the firmest guarantees of progress 
in virtue and of eternal glory. 

e. It Refines His Purity of Intention 

The man of faith judges active works by quite a 
different light from the man who lives in outward 
things. What he looks at is not so much the out- 
ward appearance of things, as their place in the divine 
plan and their supernatural results. 


And so, considering himself as a simple instru- 
ment, his soul is all the more filled with horror at 
any self-satisfaction in his own endowments, because 
he places his sole hope of success in the conviction of 
his own helplessness and confidence in God alone. 

Thus he is confirmed in a state of abandonment. 
And as he passes through his various difficulties, how 
different is his attitude from that of the apostle who 
knows nothing of intimacy with Christ! 

Furthermore, this abandonment does not in the 
least diminish his zeal for action. He acts as though 
success depended entirely on his own activity, but in 
point of fact he expects it from God alone . 38 He has 
no trouble subordinating all his projects and hopes 
to the unfathomable designs of a God who often 
uses failure even better than success to bring about 
the good of souls. 

Consequently this soul will remain in a state of 
holy indifference with respect to success or failure. 
He is always ready to say: "O my God, Thou dost not 
will that the work I have begun should be completed. 
It pleases Thee that I confine myself acting valiantly 
yet ever peacefully, to making efforts to achieve re- 
sults, but that I leave to Thee alone the task of de- 
ciding whether Thou wilt receive more glory from 
my success, or from the act of virtue that failure will 
give me the opportunity to perform. Blessed a thou- 
sand times be Thy holy and adorable Will, and may 
I, with the help of Thy grace, know just as well how 
to repel the slightest symptoms of vain complacency, 
if Thou shouldst bless my work, as to humble myself 
and adore Thee if Thy Providence sees fit to wipe 
out everything that my labors have produced.” 

The heart of the apostle bleeds, in very truth, 
when he beholds the sufferings of the Church, but his 

38 St. Ignatius Loyola. 


manner of suffering has nothing in common with that 
of the man animated by no supernatural spirit. This 
is easily seen when we consider the behavior and the 
feverish activity of the latter as soon as difficulties 
arise, and when we look at his fits of impatience and 
of dejection, his despair sometimes, his complete col- 
lapse in the presence of ruins beyond repair. The 
genuine apostle makes use of everything, success as 
well as failure, to increase his hope and expand his 
soul in confident abandonment to Providence. There 
is not the slightest detail of his apostolate that does 
not serve as the occasion for an act of faith. There is 
not a moment of his persevering toil that does not 
give him a chance to prove his love, for by practicing 
custody of the heart he manages to do everything 
with more and more perfect purity of heart, and by 
his abandonment he makes his ministry day by day 
more selfless. 

Thus, every one of his acts takes on ever more and 
more of the character of sanctity, and his love of 
souls, which at the outset was mixed with many im- 
perfections, gets purer and purer all the time; he ends 
up by only seeing these souls in Christ and loving 
them only in Christ, and thus, through Christ, he 
brings them forth to God. "My children, of whom 
I am in labor again, until Christ be formed in you.” 3fl 

f. It Is a Firm Defense Against Discouragement 

Bossuet has a sentence which is beyond the com- 
prehension of an apostle who does not realize what 
must be the soul of his apostolate. It runs: " When 
God desires a work to be wholly from His band, he 
reduces all to impotence and nothingness, and then 
He acts.” 

Nothing wounds God so much as pride. And yet 

39 Filioli inci auos itcnnn parturio. donee formetur Chris - 
fus in vobis (Gal. iv:19). 



when we go out for success, we can get to such a 
point, by our lack of purity of intention, that we set 
ourselves up as a sort of divinity, the principle and 
end of our own works. This idolatry is an abomina- 
tion in the sight of God. And so when He sees that 
the activities of the apostle lack that selflessness 
which His glory demands from a creature, he some- 
times leaves the field clear for secondary causes to go 
to work, and the building soon comes crashing down. 

The workman faces his task with all the fire of his 
nature — active, intelligent, loyal. Perhaps he realizes 
brilliant success. He even rejoices in them. He takes 
complacency in them. It is his work. All his! V eni, 
vidi, vici. He has just about appropriated this famous 
saying to himself. But wait a little. Something hap- 
pens, with the permission of God; a direct attack by 
Satan or the world is inflicted upon the work or even 
the person of the apostle; result, total ruin. But far 
more tragic is the interior upheaval in this ex-cham- 
pion — the product of his sorrow and discourage- 
ment. The greater was his joy, the more profound 
his present state of dejection. 

Only Our Lord is capable of raising up this wreck. 
"Get up,’’ He says to the discouraged apostle, "and 
instead of acting alone, take to your work again, but 
with Me, in Me, and by Me.” But the miserable man 
no longer hears this voice. He has become so lost in 
externals that it would take a real miracle of grace 
for him to hear it — a miracle upon which his re- 
peated infidelities give him no right to count. Only a 
vague conviction of the Power of God and of His 
Providence hovers over the desolation of this be- 
nighted failure, and it is not enough to drive away 
the clouds of sadness which continue to envelop him. 

What a different sight is the real priest, whose 
ideal it is to reproduce Our Lord! For him, prayer 



and holiness of life remain the two chief ways of act- 
ing upon the Heart of God and on the hearts of men. 
Yes, he has spent himself, and generously too. But 
the mirage of success seemed to him to be something 
unworthy of the undivided attention of a real apostle. 
Let storms come if they will, the secondary cause that 
produced them is of no importance. In the midst of 
a heap of ruins, since he has worked only with Our 
Lord, he hears clearly in the depths of his heart the 
"Fear not” — noli timere — which gave back to the 
disciples, in the storm, their peace and confidence. 

He runs to renew his love of the Blessed Sacra- 
ment, his deep, personal devotion to the Sorrows of 
Our Lady; and that is the first result of the trial. 

His soul, instead of being crushed by failure, comes 
out of the wine press with its youth renewed. His 
youth will be renewed like an eagle . 40 Where does 
he get this attitude of humble triumph in the midst 
of defeat? Seek the secret of it nowhere else but in 
that union with Christ and in that unshakable con- 
fidence in His omnipotence which made St. Ignatius 
say: "If the Company were to be suppressed, without 
any fault on my part, a quarter of an hour alone with 
God would be enough to give me back my calm and 
peace.” "The heart of an interior soul,” says the Cure 
d’Ars, "stands in the middle of humiliations and suf- 
ferings like a rock in the midst of the sea.” 

We wonder if most active workers are capable of 
applying to their own lives the idea expressed by 
General de Sonis in this wonderful daily prayer re- 
lated by the author of his life? 

"My God, here I am before You, poor, little, 
stripped of everything. 

"Here I am at Your feet, sunk in the depths of 
my own nothingness. 

40 Sicuf aquilar inventus rcuovabitur (Psalm cii). 



"1 wish I had something to offer You, but I am 
nothing but wretchedness! You, You are everything. 
You are my wealth. 

"My God, 1 thank You for having willed that I 
should be nothing in Your sight. I love my humilia- 
tion and my nothingness. I thank You for having 
taken away from me a few satisfactions of self-love, 
a few consolations of the heart. I thank You for 
every deception that has befallen me, every ingrati- 
tude, every humiliation. I see that they were neces- 
sary: the goods of which they deprived me might 
have kept me far from You. 

"O my God, I bless You when You give me trials. 
I love to be used up, broken to pieces, destroyed by 
You. Crush me more and more. Let me be in the 
building not as a stone worked and polished by the 
hand of the mason, but like an insignificant grain of 
sand, gathered from the dust of the road. 

"My God, I thank You for having let me catch a 
glimpse of the sweetness of Your consolations, and I 
thank You for having taken that glimpse aw'ay. 
Everything that You do is just and good. I bless You 
in my abject poverty, I regret nothing except that I 
have not loved You enough. I desire nothing but 
that Your will be done. 

"You are my Owner, I am Your property. Turn 
me this way or that way. Break me up, work on me 
however You like. I want to be reduced to nothing 
for love of Y ou. 

"O Jesus, how good is Your hand, even at the 
most terrible intensity of my trial. Let me be cruci- 
fied, but crucified by You. Amen." 

The apostle does indeed suffer. Perhaps the event 
that has just frustrated his efforts and ruined his 
work will result in the loss of several of his flock. A 
bitter sorrow for this true pastor — but it will not be 



able to dampen the ardor that will make him start 
over again. He knows that all redemption, be it 
merely that of a single soul, is a great work, accom- 
plished above all by suffering. He is certain that 
generosity in supporting trial increases his progress 
in virtue, and procures greater glory for God; and 
this certainty is enough to sustain him. 

Besides, he knows that often God wants from him 
nothing more than the seeds of success. Others will 
come, who will reap rich harvests, and perhaps they 
will think themselves entitled to all the credit. But 
heaven will be able to see the cause of it all in the 
thankless and seemingly sterile work that went be- 
fore "I have sent you to reap that which you did 
not labor; others have labored and you have entered 
into their labors.” 41 

Our Lord, Author of the success of the Apostles 
after Pentecost, willed that, in the course of His 
public life, He should only sow the seed of that 
success by teaching and example, and He predicted 
to His apostles that it would be given them to do 
works greater than His own: "The works I do, he 
also shall do, and greater than these shall he do.” 42 

What! A true apostle lose courage! He allow 
himself to be shaken by the words of cowards! He 
condemn himself to go into retirement just because 
of some failure! To say such a thing is to lack all 
understanding either of his interior life or his faith 
in Christ. A tireless bee, he sets about joyfully 
building up new honeycombs in his plundered hive. 

41 Misi vos me'tere quod vos non laborastis ; alii labora- 
verunt et vos in labores eorum introistis (Joan. iv:38). 

42 Opera quae ego facio, et ipse faciet, el majora horum 
faciet (Joan. xiv:12). 



The Interior Life Is the Condition on Which the 
Fruitfulness of Active Works Depends 

Let us leave to one side the cause of fruitfulness 
called by theologians ex opere operato. Considering 
only what is produced ex opere operands, we recall 
that if the apostle carries out the principle of "He 
who abideth in Me and I in him,” the fecundity of 
his work, willed by God, is guaranteed: "the same 
beareth much fruit.” 1 Such is the plain logic of this 
text. After such an, authority, there is no need to 
prove this thesis. Let us simply confirm it by facts. 

For more than thirty years we have been able to 
observe, from afar, the progress of two orphanages 
for little girls, maintained by two separate congrega- 
tions. Each one had to go through a period of evi- 
dent decline. To be frank: out of sixteen orphans, all 
of whom had entered under the same conditions and 
had left upon coming of age, three from the first 
house and two from the second had passed, in from 
eight to fifteen months, from the practice of frequent 
Communion to the most degraded level of the social 
scale. Of the eleven others, one alone remained 
deeply Christian. And yet every one of them had 
been placed, on leaving, in a good situation. 

In one of these orphanages, eleven years ago, there 
was a single change: a new Mother Superior was 
installed. Six months afterwards a radical trans- 
formation was apparent in the spirit of the house 

1 Qui matiet in me et ego in eo, hie fert fructum multum 
(Joan, xv :5). 



The same transformation was observed three years 
later in the other orphanage because, while the same 
superior and the same sisters remained, the chaplain 
had been changed. 

Now since that time, not a single one of the poor 
girls who left, at the age of twenty-one, has been 
dragged down by Satan into the gutter. Every one, 
every single one of them without exception, has 
remained a good Christian. 

The reason for these results is very simple. At the 
head of the house, or in the confessional, the spiritual 
direction previously given had not been really super- 
natural. And this was enough to paralyze, or at least 
to cripple, the action of grace. The former superior 
in one case and the former chaplain in the other, 
although sincerely pious people, had had no deep in- 
terior life and, consequently, exercised no deep or 
lasting influence. Theirs was a piety of the feelings, 
produced by their upbringing and environment, made 
up exclusively of pious practices and habits, and 
giving them nothing but vague beliefs, a love with- 
out strength, and virtues without deep root. It was a 
flabby piety, all in the show-window, mawkish, me- 
chanical. It was a fake piety, capable of forming 
good little girls who would not make a nuisance of 
themselves, affected little creatures, full of pretty 
curtsies but with no force of character, dragged this 
way and that by their feelings and imaginations. A 
piety powerless to open up the wide horizons of 
Christian life, and form valiant women, ready to 
face a struggle; all it was good for was to keep 
these wretched little girls locked up in their cages, 
sighing for the day when they would be let out. 

That was the poor excuse for a Christian life pro- 
duced by Gospel-workers who knew almost nothing 
of the interior life. In the midst of these two com- 


munities, a superior, a chaplain, are replaced. Right 
away the face of things is altered. What a new 
meaning prayer begins to take on; what a new fruit- 
fulness in the Sacraments. How different are the 
postures and bearing in chapel, even at work, at re- 
creation. Analysis shows up a deep transformation 
which also manifests itself in a serene joy, a new 
enthusiasm, the acquisition of virtues, and in some 
souls an intense desire for a religious vocation. To 
what is such a transformation to be ascribed? The 
new superior, the new chaplain, led lives of prayer. 

No doubt an attentive observer will have con- 
nected up similar effects to the same kind of causes 
in any number of boarding schools, day schools, hos- 
pitals, clubs, even parishes, communities, and semi- 

Listen to St. John of the Cross: "Let the men 
eaten up with activity,” he says, "and who imagine 
thev are able to shake the world with their preaching 
and other outward works, stop and reflect a moment. 
It will not be difficult for them to understand that 
they would be much more useful to the Church and 
more pleasing to the Lord, not to mention the good 
example they would give to those around them, if 
they devoted more time to prayer and to the exer- 
cises of the interior life. 

'Under these conditions, by one single work of 
theirs they would do far more good, and with much 
less trouble, than they do by a thousand others on 
which they exhaust their lives. Prayer would merit 
them this grace, and would obtain for them the 
spiritual energies they need to bring forth such fruits. 
But without prayer, all they do amounts to nothing 
more than noise and uproar; it is like a hammer 
banging on an anvil and echoing all over the neigh- 
borhood. They accomplish a little more than noth- 



ing, sometimes absolutely nothing at all, and some- 
times downright evil. God save us from such a soul 
as this, if it should happen to swell up with pride! 
It would be vain for appearances to be in his favor: 
the truth is that he would be doing nothing, because 
no good work can be done without the power of 
God. Oh, how much could be written on this sub- 
ject, for the information of those who give up prac- 
ticing the interior life, and aspire to brilliant works 
which will put them up on a pedestal and make them 
the admiration of all. Such people know nothing at 
all about the source of living water, and of the 
mysterious fountain which makes all fruit to grow.” 2 

Some of the expressions this saint uses are just as 
strong as the "accursed occupations” quoted above 
from St. Bernard. Nor is it possible to accuse him of 
exaggerating when we remember that the qualities 
which Bossuet admired in St. John of the Cross were 
his perfect good sense and the zeal he had for warn- 
ing souls against the desire of extraordinary ways of 
arriving at sanctity, as well as the most precise exact- 
ness in expressing his thoughts, which are, them- 
selves, of remarkable depth. 

Let us attempt a study of a few of the causes of 
the fruitfulness of the interior life. 

a. The Interior Life Draws Down the Blessings 

of God 

I will inebriate the souls of the priests with satiety 
and my people will be piled with my blessings . 3 
Notice the close connection between the two parts 
of this text. God does not say: "I will give My priests 
more zeal and more talent,” but: "I will inebriate 

2 Spiritual Canticle , St. xxix. 

3 Inebriabo animam sacerdotum pinguedinc ct populus 
mens bonis meis adimplebitur (Jer. xxxi:14). 


their souls.” What does that signify if not: "I will 
give them very special graces, and for that reason my 
people will be filled with Aiy blessings." 

God might have given His grace according to His 
good pleasure, without taking any account of the 
holiness of the minister nor of the dispositions of the 
faithful. That is the way He acts in the Baptism 
of infants. But it is the ordinary law of His Provi- 
dence that these two factors are the measure of His 
heavenly gifts. 

Without Me you can do nothing .* This is the 
principle. The Blood that redeemed us was shed on 
Calvary. How was God going to insure its fruitful- 
ness at the very start? By a miracle of the diffusion 
of interior life. There was nothing more paltry than 
the ideals and the zeal of the apostles before Pente- 
cost. But once the Holy Spirit had transformed 
them into men of prayer, their preaching began at 
once to work wonders 

But God does not, in the ordinary course of things, 
repeat the miracle of the Upper Room. His way is 
to leave the graces for our sanctification to fight it 
out with the free and arduous correspondence of His 
creature. But in making Pentecost the official birth- 
day of the Church, did He not give us a clear enough 
indication that his ministers would have to make 
the first step, in their work as co-redeemers, the 
sanctification of their own souls? 

Therefore, all true apostolic workers expect much 
more from their sacrifices and prayers than from their 
active work. Father Lacordaire spent a long time in 
prayer before ascending the steps of the pulpit, and 
on his return he had himself scourged. Father Mon- 
sabre, before speaking at Notre Dame, used to sav 
all fifteen decades of the Rosary on his knees. "I 

4 Sine me nihil potestis facere (Joan. xv:5). 


am taking my last dose of tonic,” he said with a smile 
to a friend who questioned him about this practice. 
Both these religious lived according to St. Bonaven- 
ture’s principle, that the secret of a fruitful aposto- 
late is to be found much more at the foot of the 
Cross than in the display of brilliance. "These three 
remain: word, example, prayer; but the greatest of 
these is prayer,” 0 cries St. Bernard. A very strong 
statement, but it is simply a commentary on the 
resolution taken by the Apostles to leave certain 
works alone in order to give themselves first of all 
to prayer, oratinni; and only after that to preaching, 
ministerio verbid 

Have we not often enough pointed out, in this con- 
nection, what a fundamental importance the Savior 
gave to this spirit of prayer? Looking out upon the 
world and upon the ages that were to come, He cried 
out in sorrow: "The harvest indeed is great, but the 
laborers are few.” 5 * 7 What would He propose as the 
quickest way to spread His teaching? Would He ask 
his apostles to go to school in Athens, or to study, at 
Rome, under the Caesars, how to conquer and gov- 
ern empires? You men of active zeal listen to the 
Master. He reveals a program and a principle full 
of light: "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest 
that He send forth laborers into the harvest.” 7 No 
mention of techniques of organization, of raising 
funds, building churches or putting up schools. Only 
"pray ye” — Rogate. This one fundamental truth of 
prayer, and the spirit of prayer, is something the 

5 Manent tria hacc , vcrbum , cxcmplam , oratio : major 
autem his est oratio. 

0 Acts vi :4. 

7 Mcssis quidcm multa , opcrarii autem pauci. Rogate er- 
qo Dominum mcssis ut mittat operarios in messcm suam 
(Matt, ix : 37-38). 

Till! SOUL Ol Till! AI’OSTOLATl! 1 13 

Master constantly repeated. Everything else, with- 
out exception, flows from it. 

Pray ye therefore ! If the faint murmur of suppli- 
cation from a holy soul has more power to raise up 
legions of apostles than the eloquent voice of a re- 
cruiter of vocations, who has less of the spirit of God, 
what are we to conclude? Simply that the spirit of 
prayer, which goes hand in hand, in the true apostle, 
with zeal, wall be the chief reason for the fruitful- 
ness of his work. 

Pray ye therefore! First of all, pray. Only after 
that, does Our Lord add "going, teach . . . preach.” 8 
Of course, God will make use of this other means; 
but the blessings that make a ministry fruitful are 
reserved for the prayers of a man of interior life. 
Such prayer will have the power to bring forth from 
the bosom of God the strength for an apostolate 
that souls cannot resist. 

The voice of one so great as Pius X throws the fol- 
lowing highlight upon the theme of this our book: 

"To restore all things in Christ by the apostolate 
of good works, we need divine grace, and the apostle 
will only receive it if he is united to Christ. Not 
until we have formed Christ within ourselves will 
we find it easy to give Flim to families and to so- 
cieties. And therefore all those who take part in 
the apostolate must develop a solid piety.” 9 

What has been said of prayer should be equally 
applied to that other element of the interior life, 
suffering: that is, everything, whether from the out- 
side or from within us, that goes against natural 

A man can suffer like a pagan, like the damned, or 

s Euntes docete . . ■ praedicate (Matt. x:7). 

9 Encyclical of H. H. Pius X to the Bishops of Italy, 
June 11, '1905. 



like a saint. If he wishes to suffer with Christ, he 
must try to suffer like a saint. For then, suffering is 
of benefit to our own souls, and applies the merits of 
the Passion to those of others: "I fill up those things 
that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my 
flesh, for His Body, which is the Church.” 10 And 
St. Augustine, commenting on this text, says: "The 
sufferings were filled up, but in the Head only, there 
was wanting still the sufferings of Christ in His 
members. Christ went before as the Head, and fol- 
lows after in His body.” 11 Christ has suffered as 
Head, now it is the turn of His Mystical Body to 
suffer. Every priest can say: I am that Body. I am 
a member of Christ, and it is up to me to complete 
what is^ wanting in the sufferings of Christ, for His 
Body, which is the Church. 

Suffering, says Fr. Faber, is the greatest of the 
Sacraments. This acute theologian shows the neces- 
sity of suffering, and concludes what must be its 
glories. Every argument of the famous Oratorian 
can be applied to the fruitfulness of works by the 
union of the sacrifices of the apostle to the Sacrifice 
of Golgotha, and thus by their participation in the 
efficacy of the Precious Blood. 

b. It makes the Apostle Capable of Sanctifying 
Others By His Example 

In the Sermon on the Mount, Our Lord called His 
apostles the salt of the earth, the light of the -world.' - 

We are the salt of the earth in proportion as we 
are saints. But if the salt has lost its savor, what use 

10 Adimplco ca quae desunt passionum Christi, in came 
inea, pro corpore ejus, quod est Ecclcsia (Coloss. i:24). 

11 Impletae erant otnnes, sed in capite , restabant adhuc 
passiones Christi in membris . Christus praccessit in capite. 
sequitur in corpore . 

12 Matt. v:3. 



has it? "What shall be cleaned by the unclean?” 13 
It is only good to be cast out and trampled under 

But on the other hand, a genuinely holy apostle, 
the true salt of the earth, will be a real agent of pres- 
ervation in that sea of corruption which is human 
society. As a beacon shining in the night, "the light 
of the world,” the brightness of his example, even 
more than the light of his words, will dispel the dark- 
ness piled up by the spirit of the world, and will 
cause to shine forth in splendor the ideal of true 
happiness which Jesus set forth in the eight beati- 

The one thing most likely to induce the faithful 
to lead a really Christian life is precisely the virtue 
of the one charged with teaching it. On the other 
hand, his imperfections are almost infallible in turn- 
ing people away from God. "For the Name of God, 
through you, is blasphemed among the gentiles.” 14 
That is why the apostle ought more often to have 
the torch of good example in his hands than fine 
words upon his lips, and should be the first to excel 
in the practice of the virtues he preaches. A man 
whose mission it is to preach great things, says St. 
Gregory, is, by that very fact, bound to perform 
them . 15 

It has been pointed out, and with truth, that a 
physician of the body can heal the sick without being 
well himself. But to heal souls, a man must him- 
self have a healthy soul, because in order to heal 
them he has to give them something of himself. Men 

13 Ab immundo quid mundabitur ? (Eccl. xxxiv:4). 

14 Nomen Dei per vos blasphcmatur inter qentes (Rom. 
ii :24) . 

15 Qui enim sui loci necessitate exigitur summa d: ere. 
hac eadem necessitate compclliiur summa monst * r'c (St. 
Gregory the Great: Pastor ., ii. c. 3). 


have every right to be exacting and to ask much of 
those who offer to teach how to lead a new life. 
And they are quick to discern if their works measure 
up to their words, or if the moral theories which they 
so willingly display are nothing more than a lying 
front. It is on the basis of their observations in this 
matter that they will give him their confidence or 
refuse it. 

What power the priest will have, in talking about 
prayer, if his people see him often in intimate con- 
verse with Him who dwells in the Tabernacle, so 
often forgotten by so many! They will not fail to 
listen to him, when he preaches penance and hard 
work, if he is, himself, a hard worker and a man of 
mortification. When he exhorts them to love one 
another, he will find them ready to listen to him ir 
he is himself careful to spread throughout his flock 
the good odor of Christ, and if the gentleness and 
humility of the divine Exemplar are reflected in his 
own conduct. "A pattern of the flock from the 
heart.” 16 

The professor who has no interior life imagines he 
has done all that is required of him if he keeps within 
the limits of the program of his examination. But if 
he is a man of prayer some word will now and again 
slip out, not only from his lips but from his heart: 
some sentiment or other will show itself in his 
expression, some significant gesture will escape him. 
yes, the mere way he makes the sign of the Cross, 
or says a prayer before or after class — even a class 
in mathematics! — may have a more profound in- 
fluence on his students than a whole sermon. 

A sister in a hospital or an orphanage has the 
power and the effective means to sow in souls a deep 
love of our Lord and His teachings, even while re- 

lf: forma c/rcgis cx ammo (I Petr. v:3). 



maining prudently within the limits of her duties. 
But if she has no interior life, she will not even 
suspect the presence of such a power, or it will not 
occur to her to do anything more than encourage 
acts of exterior piety. 

Long and frequent discussions did far less to spread 
Christianity than the sight of Christian conduct, so 
opposed to the egotism, injustice, and corruption of 
the pagans. Cardinal Wiseman, in his masterpiece, 
Fabiola, brings out what a powerful effect the ex- 
ample of the early Christians had upon the souls even 
of those pagans who were most prejudiced against 
the new r religion. The story shows us the progressive 
and almost irresistible advance of a soul towards the 
light. The noble sentiments, the virtues, whether 
modest or heroic, which the daughter of Fabius found 
in various persons of all classes and conditions, ex- 
cited her admiration. But what a change took place 
in her, what a revelation it was for her soul, when 
she found out, one by one, that all those whose 
charity, devotion, modesty, gentleness, moderation, 
love of justice and chastity she admired, all belonged 
to that sect which had always been represented to her 
as worthy of execration. From that time forth she 
was a Christian. 

Is there anyone who can keep himself from ex- 
claiming, on finishing this book: "Oh! If only 
present-day Catholics, or at least their active work- 
ers, had something of this splendid Christian life 
which the great Cardinal here portrays and which, 
nevertheless, is nothing but the Gospel put into 
practice! How irresistible would then be their 
apostolate among the modern pagans, who are too 
frequently prejudiced against Catholicism by the 
calumnies of heretical sects, or repelled by the bitter- 
ness of our own answers to our opponents, and by a 



certain way we sometimes have of asserting our rights 
in a tone that suggests wounded pride far more than 
the desire to maintain the interests of Christ!” 

What tremendous power there is in the influence 
radiated by a soul united to God! It was the way 
Fr. Passerat celebrated Mass that convinced the 
young Desurmont that he should enter the Congre- 
gation of the Most Holy Redeemer — in which he 
himself was later to achieve such holiness and im- 

The public has a sort of intuition that cannot be 
fooled. When a real man of God preaches, people 
come in crowds to hear him. But as soon as the con- 
duct of an apostle ceases to measure up to what is 
expected of him, no matter how ably his enterprise 
is run, it will be much harmed, and perhaps ruined 
beyond recovery. 

"Let them see your good works, and glorify your 
Father who is in heaven.” 17 said Our Lord. Good 
example is something St. Paul stressed over and over 
again in writing to his two disciples, Titus and 
Timothy. "In all things show thyself an example of 
good works.” 18 "Be thou an example of the faith- 
ful in word, in conversion, in charity, in faith, in chas- 
tity.” 19 He himself says: "The thing which you 

have seen in me, these do you.” 20 "Be ye followers 
of me, as I also am of Christ.” 21 And these words 
full of truth sprang from a confidence and a zeal that 
far from excluded humility, and were of the same 

]7 Vidcant opera vestra bona ct glorificent Patrem ves- 
trum qui in coelis est (Matt. v:16). 

18 In omnibus tcipsum praebe cxcmplum bonorum ope- 
rnm (Tit. ii:7). 

19 Excniplum esto fidelium in verbo, in conversatione, in 
cavitate , in fide , in castitate (I Tim. iv:12). 

20 Quae vidistis in me haec agite (Philipp. iv:9). 

21 Imitatores met estote sicut et ego Christi (I Cor. xi:l;. 


1 19 

kind as those which prompted Our Lord s own chal- 
lenge: "Which of you shall convince me of sin?" 22 

Under these conditions the apostle, following in 
the footsteps of Him of whom it is written: "He be- 
gan to do and to teach” 2:1 will soon become operari- 
um inconfusibilem — "a workman that need not 
to be ashamed.” 24 

"Above all, my dear sons," said Leo XIII, "re- 
member that the indispensable condition of true zeal, 
and the surest pledge of success is purity and holi- 
ness of life.” 20 

"A holy, perfect and virtuous man,” said St. 
Theresa, "actually does far more good to souls than 
a great many others who are merely better educated 
or more talented.” 

Pius X declared that: "If our own spirit does not 
submit to the control of a truly Christian and holy 
way of life, it will be difficult to make others lead a 
good life.” And he adds, "All those called to a life 
of Catholic Works ought to be men of a life so spot- 
less that they may give everybody else an effective 
example.” 26 

c. It Makes the Apostle Radiate the Supernatural: 
the Efficacy of This Radiation 

One of the most formidable obstacles to the con- 
version of a soul is the fact that God is a hidden 
God: Deus absconditus . 27 

But God, in His goodness, reveals Himself, in a 
certain manner, through His saints, and even 

22 Q.uis ex vobis arguet me de peccato ? (Joan. viii:46). 

23 Coe pit jacere et docerc (Acts i:l). 

24 II Tim., ii :15. 

25 Encyclical of H. H. Leo XIII, 8 Sept. 1899. 

26 Encyclical of H. H. Pius X to the Bishops of Italy, 
June 11, 1905. 

27 Is. xlv : 1 5. 


through fervent souls. In this way, the supernatural 
filters through and becomes visible to the faithful, 
who are thus able to apprehend something of the 
mystery of God. 

How does this diffusion of the supernatural come 
about? It is the visible brilliance of sanctity, the 
shining-forth of that divine influx which theology 
commonly calls sanctifying grace; or, better still per- 
haps, we may say it is the result of the unutterable 
presence of the Divine Persons within those whom 
They sanctify. 

St. Basil gave it precisely this explanation. When 
the Holy Spirit, he said, unites Himself to the souls 
purified by His grace, He does so in order to make 
them still more spiritual. Just as the sunlight makes 
the crys'tal upon which it falls, and which it pene- 
trates, more sparkling and bright, so too the sancti- 
fying Spirit fills the souls in which He dwells with 
light, and, as a result of His presence, they become 
blazing fires, spreading all around them grace and 
charity. 2S 

The manifestation of the Divine which showed it- 
self in every movement, and even in the repose of the 
Man-God, can also be perceived in certain souls 
gifted with an intense interior life. The amazing 
conversions which some saints were able to effect 
merely by the fame of their virtues, and the groups of 
aspirants to perfection that attached themselves to 
them, proclaim loudly enough the secret of their 
silent apostolate. St. Anthony caused the deserts of 
Egypt to become filled with men. St. Benedict was 
the reason why an unnumbered army of holy monks 
rose up to civilize Europe. St. Bernard’s influence, 
throughout the Church, both upon rulers and their 
people, was something unparalleled. St. Vincent 

28 De Spiritu Sancto, ix, 23. 


Ferrer was greeted, wherever he went, by the wild 
enthusiasm of huge crowds of people; and what is 
more, he converted them. There rose up such an 
army of valiant saints in the wake of St. Ignatius 
Loyola that one of them, all by himself, St. Xavier, 
was enough to save the souls of an incredible number 
of pagans. The only thing that can explain these 
wonders is the power of God Himself, radiated 
through His human instruments. 

It is a terrible misfortune when there is not to be 
found one really interior soul among all those at the 
head of important Catholic projects. Then it seems 
as though the supernatural had undergone an eclipse, 
and the power of God were in chains. And the saints 
teach us that, when this happens, a whole nation may 
fall into a decline, and Providence will seem to have 
given evil men a free hand to do all the harm they 

Make no mistake, there is a sort of instinct by 
which souls, without clearly defining what it is they 
sense, are aware of this radiation of the supernatural. 
What else would bring the sinner, of his own accord, 
to cast himself at the feet of the priest and ask par- 
don, recognizing God Himself in His representative? 
On the other hand, it was when the full conception 
of sanctity ceased to be the necessary ideal of a 
minister of a certain Christian sect, that this sect 
found itself, infallibly, abolishing confession. 

"John, indeed, did no sign.” 20 Without working 
a single miracle, John the Baptist attracted great 
crowds. St. John Vianney had a voice so weak that 
it could not reach most of those in the crowd that 
surged around him. But if people could hardly hear 
him, they saw him; they saw a living monstrance of 

29 Joannes quid cm signum fecit nullum (Joan. x:41). 



God, and the mere sight of him overwhelmed those 
who were there, and converted them. 

A lawyer had just returned from Ars. Someone 
asked him what it was that had impressed him . He 
said: "I have seen God in a man.” 

Perhaps we may be permitted to sum all this up in 
a rather commonplace comparison. It is a familiar 
experiment with electricity. Put a man on an insu- 
lating stool, and then establish contact between him 
and an electric machine. His body becomes charged 
with electricity, and as soon as anyone else touches 
him, he gives off a spark and shocks the one who has 
contacted him. It is the same with a man of prayer. 
Once he is detached from creatures, a continous 
flow is established between him and Christ, an un- 
interrupted current. The apostle becomes an ac- 
cumulator of supernatural life, and condenses, in him- 
self, a divine current which is diversified and adapted 
to the conditions and all the needs of the sphere in 
which he is working. "Virtue went out from Him 
and healed all.” 30 His words and acts become mere 
emanations of this latent power: but the power itself 
is supremely efficient in overcoming every obstacle, 
obtaining conversions, and increasing fervor. 

The more a man’s soul is filled with the theological 
virtues, the more such emanations will bring these 
same virtues to life in other souls. 

The Interior Life Makes the Apostle Radi- 
ate Faith. Those who hear him realize that God 
is present within him. 

He follows the example of St. Bernard, of whom 
it was said: "Taking with him, wherever he went, 
the solitude of his own heart, he was everywhere 
alone.” 31 And so he keeps apart from others, and 

30 Virtus de illo cxibat ct sanabat omncs (Luc. vi:19). 

31 Solitudincm cordis circumferens, ubiquc solus erat. 



in order to do so he creates a hermitage within him- 
self, but it is easy to see that he is not all by himself 
in this retreat and that he has, in his heart, a mys- 
terious and familiar Guest, and that he goes within, 
at every moment, to commune with Him, and that he 
does not talk until he has received His directions, His 
advice, His orders. We are made to feel that he 
is sustained and guided by Him and that the words 
uttered by his lips are simply a faithful echo of those 
of this interior Word: "as the Words of God.” 32 
And thus what is made manifest by his speech is not 
so much the logic and conviction of his arguments 
as the interior Word, the Verbum docens, speaking 
through His creature. "The words that I speak to 
you, I speak not of myself. But the Father Who 
abideth in me, He doth the work.” 33 The effects 
of such speech will be deep and enduring indeed, far 
deeper than the superficial admiration or passing 
burst of devotion that can be aroused in others by 
a man without the interior spirit. Such a one can 
move his hearer to declare that what he says is true 
and interesting. But that only indicates a state of 
mind in itself powerless to lead to supernatural faith, 
or to make that faith live in the soul. 

Brother Gabriel, the Trappist lay brother, did much 
more to revive the faith of numerous visitors to his 
monastery merely by carrying out his duties as assist- 
ant to the guest master , 34 than could have been done 

32 Quasi Sermones Dei (I Petr, iv : 1 1 ) . 

33 Verba quae ego loquor vobis , a meipso non loquor. 
Pater autem in me manens ipse facit opera (Toan. xiv:10). 

34 H is life is published under the title: “Du Champ de 
Bataille a la Trahpc” Bro. Gabriel had been a captain of 
dragoons in the Franco-Prussian war. In 1870, at the battle 
of Gravelotte, he made a vow to enter the Trappists, as a 
lay brother. The duties of assistant to the guest master are 
the simple ones of washing dishes, waiting on table, making 


by a learned priest whose words might appeal more 
to the mind than to the heart. General Miribel fre- 
quently came to converse with the humble brother, 
and used to say: "I came here to revive my faith.” 

Never has there been so much preaching, and argu- 
ing, or such a spate of learned works of apologetics 
as in our day, and yet never, at least as far as the 
bulk of the faithful is concerned, has the faith been so 
dead. Those whose job it is to teach too often seem to 
see nothing in the act of faith but an act of the in- 
tellect; but as a matter of fact the will also has a 
large part in it. They forget that belief is a super- 
natural gift, and that there is a deep gulf between 
merely seeing the motives of credibility and making 
a definite act of faith. This gulf can be bridged by 
God alone, together with the will of the one who is 
being instructed: but the divine light reflected by the 
sanctity of the instructor is of immense assistance in 
accomplishing this task. 

He Radiates Hope. It would be impossible for 
a man of prayer not to radiate hope. By his faith, he 
is unshakably fixed in the conviction that happiness is 
to be found in God, and in Him alone. And so. with 
what persuasive accents does he speak of heaven, 
and what power he has to console the sorrowful! 
The best way to get men to listen to you is to hold 
out to them the secret of carrying the Cross, which 
is the lot of every mortal, with joy. This secret lies 
in the Eucharist and in the hope of heaven. 

What life there is in the words of consolation 
uttered by a man who can say, in all truth, that his 
"conversation is in heaven .” 35 Someone else may, 
perhaps, display finer phrases and more fancy rhet- 

beds, and so on : blit those in this position are allowed to 
speak with the quests. 

3r> Nostra convcrsatio in coelis est (Phil. iii:20). 

i n li SOUL OF mi; apostolate 

1 25 

oric in talking about the joys of our heavenly home; 
all his speeches will fall flat. But the interior soul, 
with a few convincing words that reveal the state of 
mind of him who utters them, will be able to calm 
the grief, soothe the sorrow felt by our souls, and 
help us to accept the keenest suffering with resig- 

And thus the virtue of hope goes forth from this 
man of prayer and communicates itself irresistibly to 
a soul who had perhaps never felt its warmth before, 
and who was about to sink into the depths of despair. 

He Radiates Charity. The chief ambition of a 
soul that aspires to sanctity is to possess charity. 
The interpenetration of Jesus and the soul, the state 
expressed in the words: "he that abideth in Me and 
1 in him,” is the end that every man of interior life 
has in view. 

Experienced preachers are unanimous in declaring 
that although the introductory sermons on death, 
judgment, and hell are indispensable and always salu- 
tary in a retreat or mission, the sermon on the love 
of Our Lord generally does more good. When it is 
preached by a true missionary, who is able to make 
his hearers share in the sentiments with which he is 
filled, it is a guarantee of success and leads to many 

When there is question of detaching a soul from 
sin or of leading one from fervor to perfection, the 
love of Christ is always the best means of all. A 
Christian who has sunk deep into the mire, yet who 
is able to sense, in another , the presence of a burning 
love enkindled by invisible realities, and who, on the 
other hand, considers the deception and hollowness 
of earthly loves, begins to feel intense disgust at sin. 
He has understood something of God, something of 
Christ’s immense love for His creatures. He feels 


within himself the stirrings of the latent grace of his 
Baptism and first Communion. Christ has appeared 
to him, living and real, for the love of His Heart has 
shown itself through His minister’s countenance and 
voice. The sinner has caught a glimpse of another 
kind of love, one that is pure, ardent, and noble, and 
he has said to himself: "So it is possible, after all, to 
love, on this earth, with a love that transcends the 
love of creatures!” 

Yet a few more intimate manifestations of the 
God of Love through His herald, and the soul will 
emerge from the mire in which it was held fast, and 
will no longer fear the sacrifices that must be made 
to acquire the love of God, which, up until that time, 
had been something almost unknown in its life. 

Though this is not the place to develop this idea 
further, one may easily see what great increase of 
love, and therefore what progress, a true pastor will 
be able to effect in souls that have already emerged 
from sin, or have become fervent. Even those work- 
ers in Catholic Action who are not ordained priests 
will be able, by their ardent charity, to cause this, 
the highest of theological virtues, to spring to life 
all around them. 

He Radiates Kindness. "A zeal that is not 
charitable,” says St. Francis de Sales, "comes from a 
charity that is not genuine.” 3(5 When a soul tastes, 
in prayer, the delights of One whom the Church calls 
an "ocean of kindness,” honitatis oceanus, it will soon 
undergo a great transformation. Even if a man is 
naturally disposed to egotism and unkindness, all 
these defects will vanish little by little. If he nour- 
ishes his soul upon Him in whom appeared the 

36 Un celc qui n’est pas charitable vicut d’unc charite qui 
n’cst pas veritable. 



"goodness and kindness of God our Savior," " 7 to 
the world, upon Him who is the Image and adequate- 
expression of the divine Goodness (imago bonitatis 
illius );'* the apostle will share in the bounty of God 
and will feel the need to be, like God, "cliff usivus,” 
spreading kindness. 

The more a soul is united to Christ, the more it 
shares in the dominant quality of the Divine and 
Human Heart of the Redeemer — His kindness. In 
such a soul forbearance, benevolence, compassion are 
all multiplied beyond belief and his generosity and 
self-sacrifice may be carried to the limits of joyful 
and magnanimous immolation. 

Transfigured by divine love, the apostle will have 
no trouble in winning the sympathy of souls. "In 
the goodness and readiness of his soul he was pleas- 
ing.” a0 His words and acts will be full of kindness, 
a kindness that is completely disinterested and has 
nothing in common with that which is inspired by a 
desire for popularity or by subtle egoism. 

"God,” w r rote Lacordaire, "has willed that no good 
should be done to man except by loving him, and 
that insensibility should be forever incapable either 
of giving him light, or inspiring him to virtue.” And 
the fact is that men take glory in resisting those who 
try to impose anything on them by force; they make 
it a point of honor to raise countless objections 
against the wisdom that aims at arguing everybody, 
all the time, around to its own point of view. But 
because there is no humiliation involved in allowing 
oneself to be disarmed by kindness, men are quite 
willing to yield to the attraction of its advances. 

37 Bcmamtas ct humamtas apparuit Salvcitoris yiostn 
Dei (Tit. iii:4). 38 Sap. vii :26. 

39 l)i bonitafe ct alacritcitc animac suae plaeuit (Eccl. 
xlv :29) . 


The Little Sister of the Poor, the Little Sister of 
the Assumption, the Sister of Charity would be able 
to tell us of a host of conversions brought about with- 
out any arguing, merely by the power of a tireless 
and often heroic kindness. 

The unbeliever, in the presence of such self-sacri- 
fice, exclaims: 'God is there. I can see Him, and 
see that He is what He is called: 'the good God.’ 
He would have to be good, if living with Him were 
to be enough to make so frail a creature as man 
trample his own self-love under his feet and silence 
his most legitimate repugnances.” 

These angels of this earth fulfill the definition of 
Fr. Faber: "Kindness is the overflow of self on 
others. To be kind is to put others in one’s place. 
Kindness has convinced more sinners than zeal, elo- 
quence, or learning, and these three things have 
never converted anybody without kindness having 
something to do with it. In a word, kindness makes 
us as gods towards one another. It is the mani- 
festation of this feeling in apostolic men which draws 
sinners to them and brings them thus to their con- 

* >> 40 


And he adds: "Everywhere kindness shows itself 
the best pioneer of the Precious Blood. . . . Without 
doubt the fear of the Lord is frequently the begin- 
ning of that wfisdom which we call conversion: but 
w r e must frighten men kindly, for otherwise fear will 
only make infidels.” 

"Have the heart of a mother,” says St. Vincent 
Ferrer, "whether you have to encourage souls or 
scare them, shou r to them a heart full of tender 
charity, and let the sinner feel that your language is 
inspired by it. If you want to be useful to souls, 
begin by appealing to God with all your heart, asking 

40 Spiritual Conferences. 



Him to fill you with charity which is the compendi- 
um of all the virtues, in order that by its means 
you may efficaciously attain the end you have in 

* » » 41 


It is as far a call from natural kindness, which is 
nothing but the result of our temperament, to super- 
natural kindness, in the soul of an apostle, as it is 
from man to God. The former may arouse a certain 
respect, even sympathy for the minister of Christ, 
and sometimes it can even divert an affection that 
belongs to God alone and direct it to His creature. 
But it will never induce any soul to stir itself up, with 
a pure intention of pleasing God, to make the sacri- 
fice that is necessary if it is to return to its Creator. 
Only the kindness that flows from a close friendship 
with Christ can achieve this result. 

An ardent love of Christ and a true flair for saving 
souls will give an apostle all the daring compatible 
with tact and prudence. Here is a story that was told 
us directly by an eminent layman. On the occasion 
of a conversation with Pius X he chanced to let fall 
a few biting words against an enemy of the Church. 
"My son,” said the Pope, "I do not approve of the 
way you talk. For your penance, listen to this story. 
A priest I used to know very well had just arrived 
in his first parish. He thought it his duty to visit 
every family, including Jew's, Protestants, and even 
Freemasons. Then he announced from the pulpit 
that he w’ould repeat the visits every year. His con- 
freres got very excited at this, and complained to the 
Bishop, and the Bishop, in turn, sent for the culprit 
and reprimanded him severely. ’My Lord,’ answered 
the priest modestly, 'Jesus orders his pastors, in the 
Gospel, to bring all His sheep into the fold, oportet 
Mas addi/cere. How are we going to do that without 

41 Trait? dr la Vic Spiritual!?, p. II, C-L. 10. 


going out after them? Besides, I never compromise 
on principles, and I confine myself to expressing my 
interest and my charity towards all the souls entrust- 
ed to me by God, even the ones that have gone 
furthest astray. I have announced from the pulpit 
that I would make these visits; if you formally desire 
me to give them up, please be good enough to give 
me this prohibition in writing, so that everybody may 
know that I am simply obeying your orders.’ Moved 
by the justice of this appeal, the Bishop did not in- 
sist. And in any case, the future proved that the 
priest was right, because he had the happiness to con- 
vert a few of these strays, and inspired all the others 
with a great respect for our holy religion. This hum- 
ble parish priest, by the will of God, eventually be- 
came the Pope who is now giving you this lesson in 
charity, my son! Therefore, cling firmly to principles 
through thick and thin, but let your charity go out to 
all men, even the worst enemies of the Church.” 

He Radiates Humility. It is easy to understand 
how the goodness and kindness of Christ attracted 
people to Him in crowds. Nor is there any doubt 
that they were just as powerfully drawn to Him by 
His humility'. 

"Without Me, you can do nothing.” 4 ' The apostle, 
raised up by his Creator to the exalted position of 
collaborator, is destined to become an instrument in 
the performance of supernatural works, but only on 
the condition that Christ alone he seen as the One 
who does these works. The better the apostle knows 
how to keep out of the picture, and remain imper- 
sonal, the more surely will Christ show Himself. But 
without this impersonal quality, which is the fruit of 
the interior life, the apostle will plant and water his 
garden in vain, nothing will grow. 

,2 Sine me nihil potcstis faccre (Joan. xv:5). 


True humility lias a special charm that comes di- 
rectly from Christ. It has something of the divine 
in it. In proportion to the apostle’s zeal to efface 
himself and let Christ alone be seen as performing 
the work ("He must increase, but I must de- 
crease” 43 ), Our Lord will give him a greater and 
greater power over the hearts of men. 

That is how humility becomes one of the chief 
means of converting souls. "Believe me,” St. Vin- 
cent de Paul said to his priests, "we will never be any 
use in doing God’s work until we become thoroughly 
convinced that, of ourselves, we are better fitted to 
ruin everything than to make a success of it. 

The reader may perhaps be surprised to see us re- 
turning so often to the same ideas. But it seems to us 
that the only way to drive them home and firmly 
establish their importance in your minds is to keep 
on repeating them. 

Is it not true that failure very often comes, largely, 
from a high-handed way of doing things, and airs 
of superiority? 

The so-called "modern” Christian wants to pre- 
serve his independence. He will consent to obey God, 
all right: but God alone. And therefore he is only 
going to take orders, or direction, or even advice, 
from a minister of God when he is quite sure that 
the orders do come from God. 

Consequently, the apostle has got to cultivate hu- 
mility (and only the interior life will show him 
how) to the point of effacing himself and disappear- 
ing from view until those who look at him see right 
through him to God, so to speak. And thus he will 
carry out the Master’s words: "He that is the great- 

43 Ilium oportet cresccre, me autem minui (Joan. iii:30). 



est among you shall be your servant. Be you not 
called Rabbi . . . neither be you called masters.” 14 
The mere outward appearance of a man of prayer 
can teach men the science of living, that is, the science 
of prayer.** Why? Because his humility breathes the 
sweet fragrance of dependence on God. This de- 
pendence, which is the unvarying disposition of such 
a soul, manifests itself by a habit of recourse to God 
under every possible circumstance, either in order to 
come to some decision, or to seek consolation in all 
troubles, or else to obtain the strength to overcome 

In the Common of Confessors not Pontiffs, in the 
Breviary, the priest reads St. Bede’s wonderful com- 
ment upon the words of the Gospel, "Fear not, little 
flock.” 40 "The Savior,” he says, "calls the flock of 
the elect little either by comparison with the multi- 
tude of the reprobate, or, better still, because of their 
great zeal for humility, for no matter how great and 
extensive His Church may have become, He wills 
that she should ever grow in humility right up to the 
end of the world, and thus arrive at the Kingdom 
promised to the humble .” 4r 

This text draws its inspiration from the powerful 
lessons of Our Lord to His Apostles when, for in- 
stance, they wanted to turn their apostolic vocations 
to their own personal profit, and showed themselves 
so full of ambition and jealousy in their expressions 
of that desire! "You know,” He said, "that the 

44 Qui major est vcstrtan crit minister vester. Vos autem 
nolite vocari Rabbi . . . ncc voccmini magistri (Matt, xxiii : 
8 , 11 ). 

45 St. Augustine. 

46 Luke xii :32. 

47 Comm. Conf. non Pont., Alterac lectioncs, III Nod. 
(From St. Rede’s Ilomilics on St. Luke's Gospel , Bk. iv, 
Ch. 54). 



princes of the gentiles lord it over them; and they 
that are the greater exercise power upon them. It 
shall not be so among you, but whosoever will be the 
greater among you, let him be your master, and he 
that will be the first among you, shall be your ser- 
vant.” 48 

"But,” asks Bourdaloue, "would not that take 
away the power of authority? There will always be 
enough authority among you, if there is enough hu- 
mility, and if humility is lost, authority will become 
an intolerable burden.” 

If the apostle has not humility, he will go to one 
of two extremes. It will be either a matter of care- 
less and excessive familiarity, with all its free-and- 
easy licenses, or else of domineering over everybody 
else. The latter case is the more likely. 

Leaving questions of doctrine to one side, let us 
suppose that the apostle has enough sense to protect 
his mind from an unlimited tolerance on one hand 
and. on the other, from a harsh and bitter zeal of 
which the excesses would be very displeasing to God. 
Let us credit him with good, sane principles and cor- 
rect knowledge. When all this has been granted, we 
still affirm that without humility, the apostle will not 
be able to hold a middle course between the two ex- 
tremes, and that his behavior will either betray weak- 
ness or, more likely, overweening pride. 

On the one hand, he will yield to a false humility 
and become timid, allowing the spirit of charity to 
degenerate into weakness. He will be ready to make 
any exaggerated concession, to seek conciliation at 
any price, and a thousand pretexts will serve to 
overcome his zeal for maintaining his principles. He 
will be prepared to sacrifice them for any motive 
of human prudence, or any immediate material 

' ,s Matt, xx :25-2 7. 


gain, without a thought for the ultimate conse- 

Or else, on the other hand, his purely natural way 
of doing things, and the misdirection of his will, will 
bring into play his pride, his touchiness, his Ego. 
There will follow any number of personal dislikes, 
attempts to lay down the law, bitterness, spite, rival- 
ries, antipathies, jealousies, a purely human desire to 
get ahead of everybody else, calumnies, backbiting, 
sarcastic talk, a worldly spirit of partisanship, great 
harshness in defending his principles, and so on. 

The glory of God, instead of remaining the true 
end in the pursuit of which our passions can be sub- 
limated, will be reduced, by such an apostle as we are 
describing, to the level of a pretext and a means of 
supporting and encouraging and excusing his passions 
in all that is weakest and most human about them. 
The slightest attack upon the glory of God, or upon 
the Church, will be the signal for an outburst of anger 
in which the psychologist will be able to see that the 
apostle is rushing to the defense of his own person- 
ality or of the privileges of his religious caste in so- 
ciety, insofar as it is a human group, and not show- 
ing devotion to God’s cause, which is the sole reason 
for the existence of the Church insofar as it is a 
perfect Society instituted by Our Lord. 

Correct doctrine and good judgment will not be 
enough to preserve him from these aberrations, be- 
cause the apostle without interior life, and, therefore 
without humility, will be at the mercy of his passions. 
Humility alone, by keeping him to the path of right 
judgment and preventing him from acting on im- 
pulse, will maintain a more perfect balance and sta- 
bility in his life. It will unite him to God, and so 
make him participate, in a sense, in the changeless- 
ness of God. In the same way, the frail strands of ivy 


become strong and stable with all the unshakable 
strength of the oak when, with all its libers, it clings 
to the sturdy trunk of this forest king. 

Let us therefore not hesitate to recognize that, 
without humility, if we do not fall into the first error, 
our nature will carry us into the second; or else we 
will float in and out with the tide, according to cir- 
cumstances or to the impulsion of our passions, now 
towards one extreme and again towards the other. 
We will bear out St. Thomas’ words that man is 
a changing being, constant only in his inconstancy. 

The logical result of such an imperfect apostolate 
will be either that men despise an authority that 
has no strength, or mistrust, and even detest, an au- 
thority which does not give forth any reflection of 

He Radiates Firmness and Gentleness. The 
saints have often been extremely outspoken against 
error, the contagion of loose living, and hypocrisy. 
Take St. Bernard, for example. This oracle of his 
own time was one of those saints who showed most 
firmness in his zeal for God. But the attentive reader 
of his life will be able to see to what an extent the 
interior life had made this man-of-God selfless. He 
only fell back on strong measures when he had clear 
evidence that all other means were useless. Often, 
too, he varied between gentleness and strength. After 
having shown his great love for souls by avenging 
some principle with holy indignation and stern de- 
mands for remedies, reparation, guarantees, and 
promises, he would at once display the tenderness of 
a mother in the conversion of those whom his con- 
science had forced him to fight. Pitiless towards the 
errors of Abelard, he speedily became the friend of 
the one whom his victory had reduced to silence. 


When it was a matter of choosing means, if he 
saw that no principle was necessarily involved, he 
always stood before the hierarchy of the Church as a 
champion of non-violent procedure. Learning that 
there was a movement on foot to ruin and massacre 
the Jews of Germany, he left his cloister without a 
moment’s delay and hurried to their rescue, preach- 
ing a crusade of peace. Fr. Ratisbonne quotes a docu- 
ment of great significance in his Life of St. Bernard. 
It is a statement of the most exalted Rabbi of that 
land, expressing his admiration for the monk of Clair- 
vaux, "without whom,” he says, "there would not be 
one of us alive in Germany.” And he urges fu- 
ture generations of Jews never to forget the debt of 
gratitude they owe to the holy abbot. On this oc- 
casion St. Bernard uttered the following words: "We 
are the soldiers of peace, we are the army of the 
peacemakers, fighting for God and peace: Deo et 
pad inilit antibus. Persuasion, good example, loyalty 
to God are the only arms worthy of the children of 
the Gospel.” 

There is no substitute for the interior life as a 
means of obtaining this spirit of selflessness which 
characterizes the zeal of every saint. 

In the Chablais district of the Alps, every effort of 
orthodox Christianity fell through, until the appear- 
rance of St. Francis de Sales upon the scene. On his 
arrival, the Protestant leaders made ready for a fight 
to the death. They desired nothing less than the life 
of the Bishop of Geneva. But he appeared among 
them full of gentleness and humility. He showed 
himself to be a man whose Ego had become so sub- 
dued and effaced that the love of God and of other 
men possessed him almost entirely. History teaches 
us the almost incredibly rapid results of his apos- 



But even the gentle Brands tie Sales knew when to 
be inexorably iirm. He did not hesitate to call upon 
the power of human laws to confirm the results ob- 
tained by kind words and the example of virtue. 
Hence the saint advised the Duke of Savoy to take 
severe measures against any heretics who went back 
on their agreements. 

All that the saints ever did was copy their Master. 
We see our Savior, in the Gospel, welcoming sinners 
with great mercy. He was the friend of Zacchaeus 
and the publicans, full of goodness towards the sick, 
the suffering, and the little ones. And yet He who 
was gentleness and meekness incarnate did not hesi- 
tate to take a whip to chase the money-changers out 
of the temple. And what severe and powerful words 
He uses when He speaks of Herod, or castigates the 
vices of the scribes and hypocrite pharisees! 

But it is only in certain very rare cases, after all 
other means have failed us, or when it is obvious that 
they would be of no use, that one may, against his 
will, so to speak, have recourse to a seemingly more 
drastic procedure, out of charity and to prevent the 
spread of evil. 

Apart from such exceptional cases, and when some 
principle is not actually at stake, it is meekness that 
must direct the conduct of the Gospel worker. "You 
catch more flies,” said St. Francis de Sales, "with a 
little honey than with a barrel of vinegar.” 

Remember how Our Lord reproved His Apostles 
when they were hurt and ruffled in their human dig- 
nity and allowed themselves to be led by a zeal that 
was by no means either disinterested or pure, to seek 
violent means, demanding fire from heaven to con- 
sume the little Samaritan town that had refused to 
receive them. " You know not of what spirit you are ” 
He said to them . 49 

49 Luke ix:55. 


One of our Bishops, who is often pointed out as 
an example of unshakable firmness in his defense of 
principles, went through his episcopal city visiting 
stricken families during the First World War. 
Making himself all things to all men, he went to say 
a few words of consolation to a Calvinist who was 
mourning a son fallen on the field of honor — words 
that came straight from the heart, and were full of 
a sincere tenderness. Touched by this act of humble 
charity, the Protestant afterwards declared: "Is it 
possible that this Bishop, a man so nobly born, should 
have condescended to enter my poor little home, in 
spite of the difference of our religion? What he has 
done and said goes straight to my heart.” The manu- 
facturer in whose employment the Protestant was 
added, as he told us of this event, "As far as I can 
see, this Protestant is already halfway to conversion. 
And in any case the Bishop has done more, by his 
kindness, to promote his conversion than he would 
have done by any number of heated arguments.” 
This pastor of souls gave evidence of the meekness of 
Our Lord. The Protestant saw the Savior before him, 
in a manner of speaking, and was forced to con- 
clude that a church with Bishops who so truly re- 
flect him whom he admired in the Gospels must 
be the true Church. 

The interior spirit will keep both mind and will 
working in the service of the Gospel. A soul that 
sees all things and acts always according to the Heart 
of Jesus will never be thrown off balance by indo- 
lence on one hand or unjustified violence on the 
other. Its prudence and its ardor alike come only 
from that adorable Heart. That is the secret of its 

On the other hand, it is lack of interior life, and, 
consequently, the manifestation of human passions, 



that is the reason why we are so often defeated. 

He Radiates Mortification. The spirit of mor- 
tification is another principle of fruitfulness in good 
works. Everything is summed up in the Cross. And 
as long as we have not made the mystery of the cross 
sink deeply into the souls of men, we have, as yet, 
barely touched their surface. But who will ever be 
able to get people to accept this mystery which so 
repels that horror of suffering which is so natural to 
mankind? Only the man who can say, with the great 
Apostle: "With Christ I am nailed to the Cross.” ^ 
The only ones capable of such a task are those who 
carry in themselves Jesus crucified: "Always bearing 
about in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the 
life of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies.” al 
To mortify oneself is to reproduce the "Christ who 
did not please Himself.” 52 That is, to renounce our- 
selves under all circumstances, to get to love every- 
thing that displeases our nature and, finally, to tend 
to the ideal of being a victim that is immolated with- 
out ceasing every moment of the day. 

Now, without the interior life, it is simply im- 
possible to uproot all our most stubborn instincts in 
this way. 

The Poverello of Assisi could walk in silence 
through the streets of the old hill-town preaching the 
mystery of the Cross by his mere appearance: but an 
apostle who knows no mortification wastes his rime 
preaching Calvary even if he is able to borrow the 
finests flights of Bossuet to do so. The world is so 
firmly entrenched in the spirit of pleasure that ordi- 
nary arguments, and even the most brilliant analyses 

r ‘° Christo confixus sum Cruci (Gal. ii : 19 ) . 

51 Semper mortificationem Jesu in corpore nostro circum- 
ferentes ut vita Jesu manifestetur in corporibus nostris (II 
Cor. iv:10). 

52 Christus sibi no placuit (Rom. xv:3). 


and intuitions will be incapable of destroying its cita- 
del. What is needed is for some minister of God to 
make the Passion a vivid, living reality by his own 
mortification and detachment. 

They are "enemies of the Cross of Christ,” r,;i St. 
Paul would say of those numerous Christians who 
only see in Christianity a form of social conformity: 
men for whom our religion is nothing but a habit of 
certain external practices, handed down by tradition 
and carried out from time to time with respect, of 
course, but without any relation to the amendment 
of life, the combat against the passions, or the intro- 
duction of the Gospel spirit into our practical living. 
The Lord might well say of such as this: the people 
appear to honor Me; "They honor Me with their lips, 
but their heart is far from Me.” 54 

"Enemies of the Cross of Christ,” those weak- 
kneed Christians who think it is indispensable that 
they should surround themselves with every com- 
fort, and give in to all the demands made by the 
world, to seek its inordinate pleasures, and to follow 
with passionate interest all its changing fashions. 
Such people are shocked by these words of Our Lord, 
which they can no longer understand; and yet it is 
something He said for the benefit of every man: 
" Except you do penance, you shall all likewise per- 
ish.” 55 As St. Paul says, the Cross has become to 
them a "stumbling block.” 06 

And yet how is the apostle going to produce other 
Christians if he himself has no interior life? 

Any true priest will naturally feel great satisfac- 
tion when he sees large crowds at his various services : 

53 Inimicos Crucis Christi (Phil, iii : 18 ) . 

54 Populus hie labiis me honorat, cor autem eorum longe 
cst a me (Matt. xv:8). 

55 Luc. xiii:5. 50 I Cor. i :2 3. 



and yet he will have no real enthusiasm over all this 
if he knows that they have all come as a matter of 
routine, merely out of fidelity to certain respectable 
family customs, to certain habits which do nothing 
to influence the course of their lives in general. Nor 
will he draw any joy from this big attendance if he 
finds that its only cause is the pleasure the people 
take in hearing good music, in seeing nice decora- 
tions, or listening to a rhetorical exercise which they 
have come to enjoy for its form and style alone. 

One might think that this enthusiasm would be 
quite legitimate when there was question of many 
people making frequent Communions. But at this 
point, a memory of my trip to America 57 comes to 
my mind. As I visited certain parishes, I was de- 
lighted to find out that a good number of men there 
were faithful to the Communion of the First Friday 
of the month. But a holy New York priest comment- 
ed on my delight with: "homo videt in facie, Dens 
autem in corde” — Man sees the face, but God sees 
the heart! "Do not forget,” he went on, "that you are 
in a country where nobody is held back by human 
respect, and where bluff is fairly universal. Restrain 
your admiration until you come to a parish where a 
reliable observer can testify that frequent Communion 
is a genuine indication, if not of a complete amend- 
ment of life, at least of sincere efforts to lead a Chris- 
tian life, and a loyal desire not to compromise with 
heavy drinking and the ruthless ambition to make 
a lot of money.” 

ilT The previous translator of the Soul of the A postdate 
into English, writing in English, saw fit to omit this passage 
from his translation, perhaps with an undue regard for the 
sensitiveness of American readers. But such solicitude is no 
compliment to us! Did the good Eather think that we would 
listen complacently to Dom Chautard pointing out faults in 
his own country, and vet fall into despair if he suggested 
that there might he a few imperfections over here too? 



Far be it from us to underrate the slightest traces 
of Christian life, however paltry. But the real burden 
of these pages is to deplore our lamentable incapacity, 
without interior life, to produce any effects except 
these trivial, though not altogether negligible, results. 

All that Jesus wants is our heart. The reason why 
Fie came to reveal to men the sublime truths of faith 
was to conquer their hearts, possess their wills, and 
inspire them to follow Him in the path of renuncia- 

An apostle who is accustomed to an interior life 
based on Our Lord’s words, "Let him deny him- 
self,” r,s will be fully capable of producing in others 
this self-denial, which is the foundation of all moral 
perfection. But one who only lags far behind Our 
Lord, in carrying the Cross, will be incapable of such 
a result: Nemo dat quod non habet . 59 Since he him- 
self is such a coward, when it comes to imitating 
Christ crucified, how will he ever preach to his people 
the holy war against the passions — the war in 
which Our Lord sounded the rallying cry for us all? 

Only an apostle who is disinterested, humble, and 
chaste can lead souls on into the battle against the 
ever-growing forces of greed, ambition, and impurity. 
Only an apostle who has learned the science of the 
Crucifix will be able to check that everlasting search 
for comfort and ease, that worship of pleasure that 
threatens to sweep the whole world and undermine 
families and whole nations to their eventual destruc- 

St. Paul summed up his apostolate as "preaching 
Christ crucified.” Because he lived in Christ, and in 
Christ crucified, he was able to give souls a taste for 
the mystery of the Cross, and teach them to live it. 

T ' R Ahncget snnctipsum (Matt. xvi:24). 

r>9 Nobody gives what he does not possess. 


Too many apostles in our own day no longer have 
enough interior life to fathom this life-giving mys- 
tery, to steep themselves through and through with 
it, until it shines forth from everything they do. They 
look at religion too much from the point of view of 
philosophy, sociology, or even of esthetics. They see 
in it only those elements which appeal to the mind 
and excite the sensibilities and imagination. They 
give free scope to their inclination to regard religion 
as a sublime school of poetry and of incomparable 
art. It is quite true that religion possesses all these 
qualities; but to consider it only under these second- 
ary aspects would be to subject the economy of the 
Gospel to a grievous distortion, making an end of 
something that is nothing but a means. But it is a 
species of sacrilege to take the Christ of Gethsemani, 
of the Pretorium, of Calvary, merely as a good sub- 
ject for a holy picture. Ever since man sinned, pen- 
ance, reparation, and spiritual war have become nec- 
essary conditions of our life. At every turn, the Cross 
of Christ is there to remind us of the fact. The In- 
carnate Word’s zeal for His Father’s glory will not 
be satisfied with mere admiration: He wants imita- 

Benedict XV invited all true apostles, in his En- 
cyclical of November 1, 1914, to put their hand to 
the plow with greater determination than ever, in 
their labor of getting souls away from their love of 
comfort, their egotism, their flippant tastes, and their 
forgetfulness of eternal values. That amounted to 
an appeal to all ministers of our crucified God to 
lead an interior life. 

God, who has given us so much, asks of the Chris- 
tian, as soon as he has reached the age of reason, to 
unite something of himself to the bitter bloodshed- 
ding of Christ’s passion: to unite what we might call 



our soul’s blood, that is, all the sacrifices that are re- 
quired in the observance of the law of God. How will 
the faithful be inspired to generosity in sacrificing 
wealth, pleasure, and honor? Only by the example 
of a director of souls who has made himself familiar 
with the spirit of sacrifice. 

When we see the repeated victories of our infernal 
foes, we may well wonder, in our anxiety, where to 
look for the salvation of our society. When will it be 
the Church’s turn to win a few battles? The answer 
is easy: we can say with Our Lord, "This kind is 
not cast out but by prayer and fasting.” 60 It will be 
our turn when the ranks of the clergy and of the re- 
ligious orders will have begun to produce a body of 
mortified men who will make the great splendor of 
the mystery of the Cross blaze in the eyes of all peo- 
ples: and the nations of the earth, seeing, in mortified 
priests and religious, how reparation is made for the 
sins of the world, will also understand the Redemp- 
tion of the world by the Precious Blood of Jesus 
Christ. Only then will the army of the devil begin 
to retreat, and the ages of human history will no 
longer echo with the terrible anguished cry of our 
outraged Lord — that cry that will at last have found 
some to make reparation: "And I sought among 

them for a man that might set up a hedge, and stand 
in the gap before Me in favor of the land, that I 
might not destroy it, and I found none.” 61 

Someone has tried to find out why a single sign 
of the Cross from Fr. de Ravignan was enough to 
electrify indifferent Catholics and even unbelievers 

r>0 Hoc autcm nevus non cjicitur nisi per orationem et 
ieiunimn (Matt, xvii :20V 

ri Fj nuoesivi de eis innnn mi interponeret sepem et 
staret ophositns contra me Pro terra , ne dissiparem earn, et 
non inveni (Ezech. xxii:30). 



who had come to hear him out of mere curiosity. 
The conclusion to which he was led after questioning 
many of those who had heard the holy Jesuit, was 
that it was the preacher’s austerity of life which was 
given a most striking manifestation by this sign of 
the Cross, uniting him with the mystery of Calvary. 

d. It Makes the Gospel Worker Truly Eloquent 

What we are talking about is, of course, that elo- 
quence which is effective enough as a vehicle of grace 
to bring about the conversion of souls and lead them 
to virtue. We have already treated of it in an inci- 
dental fashion. We will only add a few words to 
these considerations here. 

In the Office of St. John we read this responsory: 
"reclining on the breast of the Lord, he drank in from 
the sacred fountain itself, of the Heart of the Lord, 
the fluency of his Gospel, and he spread the grace of 
the word of God over the whole world.”* 2 

What a profound lesson is to be found in these 
few words for all those whose duty it is as preachers, 
writers, or catechists to spread abroad the word of 
God! In these powerful words, the Church reveals 
to the priests the source of all true eloquence. 

All the Evangelists were equally inspired. All had 
their providential purpose. And yet, nevertheless, 
each one has an eloquence all his own. St. John, 
more than all the others, has the power to reach our 
wills by filling our hearts with the grace of God’s 
word, verbi Dei gratiam. His Gospel, together with 

62 Supra pectus Domini recumbens . Evangelii fluenta de 
ipso sacro Dominici pectoris Fonte potavit et verbi Dei gra- 
tiam in toto terrarum orbe diffudit ( Monastic Breviary , R. 
xi, Third Nocturn). The Roman Breviary , R. viii, Third 
Noct. of Matins has part of this quotation: sc., Fluenta 
Evangelii de ipso sacro Dominici pectoris fonte potavit , but 
that is all. 


the Epistles of St. Paul, is the favorite book of souls 
for whom life here below is meaningless without 
union with Jesus Christ. 

Where did St. John get an eloquence of such 
power? In what mountain is the source of that great 
river whose life-giving waters spread their bounty 
over the whole earth? (Fluenta in toto or be t err arum 

The liturgical text tells us: he is one of the rivers 
of Paradise. Quasi unus ex Paradisi fiuminibus Evan- 
gelista Joannes. 

What is the use of so many high mountains and 
glaciers, in this earth? Some people who know noth- 
ing might perhaps come to the conclusion that it 
would be much more profitable if all these vast 
mountainous areas were nice fertile plains. But they 
would be forgeting that without these high peaks, 
all the plains and valleys would be as barren as the 
Sahara. For it is the mountains that give the earth 
its fertility, by means of the rivers for which they 
serve as reservoirs. 

This great peak of Paradise, where springs the 
fount by which is fed the Gospel of St. John, is noth- 
ing else but the Heart of Jesus: Evangelii fluenta de 
ipso sacro Dominici pectoris fonte potavit. It was 
because the Evangelist, by his interior life, was able 
to detect the beatings of the Heart of the Man-God, 
and the immensity of His love for men, that his word 
is the vehicle of the grace of the divine Word: Verbi 
Dei gratiam diffudit. 

In the same way it can be said that all men of 
prayer are in a way rivers of Paradise. Not only do 
they draw down from heaven, upon the earth, by 
their prayers and sacrifices, the living waters of grace, 
and deflect or mitigate the chastisements which the 



world deserves, but ascending even to the height of 
heaven, they draw from the Heart of Him in Whom 
the inner life of God resides, the floods of that very 
life, and distribute it in great abundance upon souls. 
"You shall draw waters out of the Savior’s foun- 
tains.” 03 Called to give forth the word of God, they 
do so with an eloquence of which they alone possess 
the secret. They speak to the earth of heaven. They 
bring light, warmth, consolation, and strength. With- 
out all these qualities together, no eloquence is quite 
complete. And the preacher will only be able to com- 
bine them all if he lives in and by Jesus Christ. 

Am I really one of those who depend upon their 
mental prayer, their visits to the Blessed Sacrament, 
above all upon their Mass or their Communion, to 
put real moving power into their preaching? If I am 
not, I may perhaps be a loudly "tinkling cymbal,” or 
even give forth the more pompous din of "sounding 
brass,” but I am not communicating to others any 
love, that love which makes the eloquence of the 
friends of God impossible to resist. 

A preacher endowed with learning but of only 
mediocre piety may be able to paint a picture of 
Christian Truth that will stir souls, bring them a 
little closer to God, even increase their faith. But if 
one is to fill souls with the life-giving savor of virtue, 
he must first have tasted the true spirit of the Gospel 
and made it enter into the substance of his own life 
by means of mental prayer. 

Let us repeat once more that only the Holy Spirit, 
the Principle of all spiritual fruitfulness, can make 
converts and impart the graces that determine men 
to flee vice and follow virtue. The preaching of the 
apostle, when it is filled with the unction of the 
sanctifying Spirit, becomes a living channel which 

63 Haurietis aquas de fontibus salvatoris (Is. xii:3). 



holds back nothing of the divine action. Before Pen- 
tecost the apostles had preached almost with no re- 
sult at all. After their ten-day retreat, given entirely 
to the interior life, they were overwhelmed by the 
Spirit of God, and transformed by Him. Their first 
attempts at preaching were miraculous draughts of 
fishes. It will be the same with the sowers of the 
Gospel. Their interior life will make them true 
Christ-bearers. They will plant and water their seed- 
lings with great success and the Spirit of God will al- 
ways give them increase. Their word will at the same 
time be the seed that is sown and the rain that waters. 
There will be no lack of the ripening sun, giver 
of growth. 

"It is. vain merely to give light, says St. Bernard, 
"and it is but little merely to burn; but to burn and 
give light together is perfection.” Further on he 
adds: "It is in a particular manner to apostle and 
apostolic men that are addressed these words: Let 
your light shine before men. For such as these ought 
to be ardent, yea, very ardent.” 64 

This eloquence in preaching is to be drawn, by the 
apostle, not only from a life of union with Jesus by 
prayer and custody of the heart but also from the 
Sacred Scriptures, which he will study with great zeal, 
and in which he will take a genuine delight. God’s 
every word to men, every word fallen from the lips 
of Jesus, will be treasured by him as a diamond; and 
he will admire all its facets by the light of the gift 
of wisdom, which has reached a considerable perfec- 

64 The Saint is commenting on the text. “He was a burn- 
ing and a shining light/’ apnlied to St. John Baptist, in a 
Sermon for the feast of the Great Precursor — a model for 
all apostles. " Hst tnntum luccrc vamim tcmtum ardcrc paruut, 
ardcrc ct luccrc bcrfcctinn. — Sinaulnrltcr apostolis et aPos- 
tolicis viris dicitur: Lucent lux vestra coraw hominibus. 
niwiruw tamquam acccnsis , ct vehementer accensis.” 


tion in him. But since he never opens the inspired 
b<x>k without first having lifted his mind and heart to 
God in prayer, he not only admires but relishes the 
teachings he finds in it, just as if they had been dic- 
tated by the Holy Spirit for him personally. With 
what unction, then, will he quote the word of God in 
the pulpit, and what a difference there will be be- 
tween the light that he draws forth from it and the 
ingenious and learned applications worked out by a 
preacher with no other resources than reason and an 
abstract, half-dead faith. The former will show us 
truth as living, surrounding souls with a reality that 
desires not only to enlighten them, but to give them 
life. The latter is only able to talk of truth as of a 
sort of algebraic equation, possessing, of course, certi- 
tude, but cold and unrelated to the inmost realities of 
our life. He leaves it in the abstract state, a simple 
record, or, at best, something that may touch our 
hearts by virtue of the so-called esthetic aspect of 
Christianity. "The majesty of the Scriptures fills me 
with astonishment; the simplicity of the Gospels goes 
straight to my heart,” the sentimentalist, J. J. Rous- 
seau, admitted. But what difference did these vague 
and sterile emotions make, to the glory of God? 

The true apostle, on the other hand, knows how 
to bring out not only the truth of the Gospel but the 
actuality of that truth, and the fact that it is ever 
renewed, and (because divine) ever active in the soul 
that enters into contact with it. And without stop- 
ping to move the feelings, he goes on, by the word of 
divine life unil he reaches the will, where corre- 
spondence with the Life of all takes place. The 
convictions that he produces are of a kind to arouse 
love and determination. He alone know r s how to 
preach the Gospel. 


No interior life would be complete without de- 
votion to Mary Immaculate, the most perfect of all 
channels of grace, above all of those special graces 
that make saints. The experienced apostle is always 
having recourse to Mary, a fact which St. Bernard 
could never conceive as being lacking in a true dis- 
ciple of that incomparable Mother; and the apostle, 
when he sets forth the dogmas on the Mother of 
God, and of men, will find himself speaking with a 
warmth that not only interests his hearers and deeply 
moves them, but also excites in them a similar need 
to fly, in all their troubles, to this Mediatrix of all 
the Graces won for us by the Precious Blood. Such a 
one has only to let his experience and his heart do 
the talking, and he will win souls for the Queen of 
Heaven, and, through Her, cast them into the Heart 
of Jesus. 

e. Because the Interior Life Begets Interior Life, 

Its Results Upon Souls Are Deep and Lasting 

It might be a good idea to write this chapter in 
the form of a letter to the heart of each one of our 
confreres. Such a form would be very appropriate. 

In any case, we have been looking at good works 
in their dependence above all on the interior life of 
the apostle. Prayer and reflection have led us to the 
analysis of the sterility of certain enterprises from an- 
other point of view, and it would seem to be quite 
reasonable and true to sum up our findings in this 

No work takes deep root, or has real stability, or 
will perpetuate itself, unless the apostle has begotten 
the interior life in other souls. Naturally, he cannot 
do this unless he himself is strong in the inner life. 

In the third chapter of Part II we quoted the 
words of Canon Timon-David concerning the im- 



portance of forming, in every work of Catholic Ac- 
tion, a nucleus of very fervent Christians who should 
in their turn carry on a regular apostolate among 
their companions. It is easy to see the great value of 
this leaven, and to what an extent these co-workers 
can multiply the active power of the apostle. He does 
not have to work alone: his resources for action are 
increased a hundred per cent. 

Let us hasten to repeat that only a really interior 
man of works will have enough life to produce other 
centers of fruitful life. Any purely worldly and non- 
Christian enterprise is able to obtain eager proselytes 
who will spread propaganda, and make friends and 
influence others, in general, whether prompted by 
brotherly spirit or by rivalry. In such a case, fanati- 
cism or a spirit of competition, sectarianism, or vain- 
glory, solidarity or rivalry are all that is needed to 
stir them up to activity. But when it comes to creat- 
ing apostles after the Heart of Christ, apostles who 
share His gentleness and humility, His disinterested 
goodness and His zeal for the glory of God His 
Father alone, is there any other force than can pre- 
tend to do this work than an intensive interior life? 

As long as an enterprise has not been able to pro- 
duce such a result as this, its survival is uncertain. It 
is almost a foregone conclusion that it will not out- 
live the one who started it. But there is no doubt 
whatever that the reason for the long life of certain 
other works is generally to be found in the single fact 
that interior life has begotten more interior life. 

Consider this example. 

Father Allemand, who died in the odor of sanctity, 
founded, before the Revolution, in Marseilles, a 
youth movement for students and workers. This 
movement still bears the name of its founder, and for 
more than a century it has continued to enjoy a re- 


markable success. And yet, from the natural stand- 
point, this priest had very few gifts. Half blind, shy, 
devoid of any talent as a speaker, he was, humanly 
speaking, incapable of the prodigious activity that 
his work called for. 

A certain lack of proportion in his features should, 
ordinarily, have aroused derision in young people, 
but the beauty of soul that was reflected in his looks 
and in all his bearing prevented it. Thanks to that 
beauty, the man of God gained a great ascendancy 
over these energetic youths, by which he dominated 
them and gained their esteem, respect, and love. Fr. 
Allemand wanted to build on no foundation but the 
interior life, and he was strong enough to form a nu- 
cleus of young men, at the center of his movement, 
men of whom he did not hesitate to ask, to the ex- 
treme limit permitted by their condition, a complete 
inner life, uncompromising custody of the heart, 
morning meditation, and so on. In a word, he asked 
the complete Christian life, in the sense in which it 
was understood and practiced by the Christians of 
the earliest times. 

And these young apostles, succeeding one another, 
have continued to be the true center of this move- 
ment at Marseilles; and the movement has given to 
the Church several Bishops, and continues to give 
her many secular priests, missionaries, religious, as 
well as thousands of family men who are at all times 
the chief support of the parochial works in the great 
Mediterranean seaport, where they form a group that 
not only does honor to business and industry and the 
professions, but constitutes a real center for the apos- 

We have mentioned "family men.” That brings 
to mind the burden of the refrain that can be heard 
almost everywhere: "The apostolate is relatively easy 


in the case of young men and girls and especially 
married women, mothers. But when it comes to ma- 
ture men, it is just about impossible. And yet so 
long as we have not made the fathers of families not 
only into Christians but also into apostles, the in- 
fluence of Christian mothers, great as it is, will be 
obstructed or short-lived and we will never set the 
social kingdom of Christ on a firm basis. Now in 
such and such a parish, or district, or hospital, or 
factory, there is just no way of getting the men to 
become deeply Christian.” 

When we thus admit helplessness, do we not 
display our poverty in the exterior life, which alone 
can teach us the means of preventing so many men 
from getting away from the influence of the Church? 
Do we not prefer the easy sermons that are so suc- 
cessful with youths and women to the intensive 
labor of preparation demanded by sermons that have 
power to arouse convictions and love and lasting 
resolutions in the minds and hearts of men? Only 
the interior life can sustain us in the hidden, back- 
breaking labor of planting the seed that seems to go 
so long without fruit. Only the interior life can teach 
us how much active power there is to be derived from 
the labor of prayer and penance, and how great an 
increase in our efficacy in preaching to men would 
follow from progress in the imitation of all the vir- 
tues of Jesus Christ. 

So surprising were the reports we received, con- 
cerning Catholic Action among the soldiers in a city 
of Normandy, that we hesitated to believe such suc- 
cess. For instance, how was it possible that the at- 
tendance of soldiers at the club should be much 
greater when there was a long evening of adoration 
in reparation for the blasphemy and debauchery of 
the barracks than when a concert or show was pre- 



sented? And yet we had to give in before the evi- 
dence. But our surprise vanished when we were 
shown to what an extent the chaplain realized the 
Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and what 
apostles he had thus been able to form around him. 

After that, what are we to think of those apostles 
for whom movies, plays, and athletics appear to con- 
stitute a fifth Gospel for the conversion of nations? 

When all else is lacking, no doubt these means 
may obtain some result by attracting practicing 
Catholics, or keeping others away from occasions of 
sin; but how limited and short-lived such a result 
usually is! God preserves us from cooling the zeal of 
our beloved confreres who can neither imagine nor 
employ any other tactics, and who have already con- 
jured up visions (as we did ourselves, in our youth 
and inexperience) of an empty clubhouse or parish 
hall, if they should happen to devote less time to 
putting on these modern amusements, which are, in 
their estimation, indispensable to success. Let us 
simply put them on their guard against the danger of 
giving these things too important a place, and wish 
them the grace to grasp the doctrine of Canon 
Timon-David, whose views we presented towards the 
beginning of this book. 

One day — it -was only two years after our ordina- 
tion — this venerable priest was forced to close one 
of his conversations with us by saying fraternally, but 
not without a certain amount of pity: "You cannot 
bear them, now . 05 Wait a little, until you have made 
a little progress in the interior life, and you will un- 
derstand better. At present, all things considered, 
you probably cannot do without such things. All 
right, then, go ahead, use them, if they are all you 

65 Non potestis poriarc modo (Joan. xvi:12). 



have. For my part I am well able to hold on to my 
young workers and clerks, and to get new recruits, 
even though in our place we don’t have anything 
much but a few of those old-time games that are 
always new and which don’t cost anything, and relax 
the soul because they are so completely simple. Lis- 
ten,” he added slyly, "you were up in the attic and 
saw the band instruments that I, too, thought indis- 
pensable when I started out. Well, in a moment the 
band we have today will be coming this way. You 
will be able to judge for yourself.” 

Sure enough, in a few minutes a group of youths 
between twelve and seventeen went marching by. 
There were forty or fifty of them. What an uproar! 
It was impossible to keep from bursting out laughing 
at this fantastic brigade upon which the old Canon 
gazed with such delight. "Look,” he said, "you see 
that fellow marching backwards at the head of the 
gang waving his stick like an orchestra leader, and, 
now, putting it up to his lips and playing it like a 
clarinet? He is a non-commissioned officer on leave, 
and one of our most energetic workers. He does his 
best to get to Communion every day, but, above all, 
he never misses his half-hour of mental prayer. This 
real saint is also a terrific joker, and he knows how 
to use all his talents to see that the games we use as 
our means don’t get dull. He has no limit to his 
original ideas, and so he keeps all these little fellows 
happy all the time. But nothing escapes his adju- 
tant’s eyes, or his apostle’s heart.” 

Really, it was extremely funny to see and hear this 
band of musicians "playing” all the old tunes. They 
would change as soon as the leader gave the signal by 
his example. Each member of the "band” imitated 
some instrument. Some had their hands in front of 
their mouths like a horn, others were humming into 



a sheet of tissue-paper, and one or two had mouth- 
organs. I forgot: in the front rank of the musicians 
there were a slide-trombonist and a big drummer. 
The first had two sticks, and moved one of them back 
and forth while the other was beating on an old 
gasoline can. The shining faces of all these young- 
sters showed that they were really carried away by 
their game. 

"Let’s follow the band,’’ said the Canon. At the 
end of the garden path was a statue of the Blessed 
Virgin. "On your knees, men,” cried the leader, "let’s 
sing an Ave Maris Stella to our dear Mother, and 
say a decade of the Rosary.” All these little fellows 
were quiet for a minute, and then answered the Aves 
just as piously and slowly as if they were in the 
chapel. These little southerners, most of them with 
their eyes down, had been real rascals a few minutes 
ago, and now they were transformed into angels out 
of a picture by Fra Angelico! 

"Don’t forget,” said the guide, "that is the ther- 
mometer of the movement. All our workers aim at 
this one end: to hold even our most mature youths, 
those of twenty or more, by simple games, and to get 
them to like to come here for their time of prayer 
and recreation, to become children again, and get fun 
out of any little thing, but above all to get them to 
pray, and really pray, even in the middle of their 
games.” The whole group was on its feet again, and 
off to further musical exploits that echoed throughout 
the big yard. A moment later the place was in an 
uproar with "prisoner’s base.” Meanwhile we had 
noticed that the adjutant, when he got up after the 
Ave Maris Stella, had whispered a few words in the 
ear of two or three of the youngsters, who at once, 
gaily, and as though following a familiar practice, 
went to change into their street clothes and then were 


off to the chapel to spend a quarter of an hour with 
the Divine Prisoner in the Tabernacle. 

Our ambition,” continued Canon Timon-David, 
speaking with profound conviction, "our ambition 
must be to form workers in whom the love of God is 
so strong that after they have married and left the 
club they should remain apostles, eager to share their 
charity with the greatest possible number of souls.” 
And the holy priest continued: "If our apostolate 
were to aim only at forming good Christians, then 
our ideal would be feeble indeed! What we have to 
do is create legions of apostles so that the family, the 
fundamental social unit, may become in turn a cen- 
ter of the apostolate. Now this whole program can- 
not be realized unless we lead lives of sacrifice and of 
intimate friendship with Christ; otherwise we shall 
never be strong enough, nor discover the secret of 
success. On these conditions alone will our activity 
make itself felt in society, or the word of our Master 
be fulfilled: "I have come to cast fire upon the 

earth, and what will I but that it be kindled?” 00 

Not until long afterward, alas, did we under- 
stand the drift of the living lessons of the Canon, 
who was such a profound psychologist and tactician, 
and compare the results of the different means em- 
ployed, under the eye of God, to whom merely 
apparent successes mean nothing at all. 

According as the means employed are simple, like 
the Gospel, or complicated, after the fashion of all 
things that have too much that is merely human in 
them, we can evaluate both a movement and those 
who are running it. 

The mighty men of Israel, armed from head to 
foot, had fought in vain against Goliath. But young 

r,G Icjncm veni mittcre in terrain, ct quid volo nisi lit ac- 
ccndatur? (Luc. xii:49). 


David took the field against him with a sling, a stick, 
and five stones from the brook. That was all the 
boy needed. Yet his cry: "1 come to thee in the 
name of the Lord of hosts” 07 sprang from a soul 
capable of attaining sanctity. 

We hear a lot today about postgraduate training 
offered by secular groups. It will make little differ- 
ence if these movements have at their disposal huge 
sums of money officially contributed by the state, 
luxurious quarters, and all that. The Church’s post- 
graduate training groups, for all their poverty, will 
have nothing to fear from their competition, if they 
are built on the interior life, and the charm of their 
ideal, which is the thing that attracts youth before 
everything else, will win over the pick of the younger 

Finally, one more example. It will help us to an- 
alyze those active workers who appear to be drawing 
souls to God so effectively as to make apostles of 
them, but who, in actual fact, are only working up a 
certain amount of enthusiasm based on their own 
natural personal appeal, and on the magnetic influ- 
ence they exercise on all who come in contact with 
them. Their following, delighted to be on friendly 
terms with so attractive and holy a man, and proud 
to see that he takes an interest in them, form a sort 
of a court around him and vie with one another even 
in accepting the painful tasks and duties that appear 
to reflect true devotion; but they do so mostly to 
please him. 

A Congregation of nuns, excellent catechists, was 
under the direction of a religious whose life has just 
been written. He was a man of prayer. One day he 
said to the local Superior, "Reverend Mother, I think 
it would be a good thing if Sister So-and-So were 
to give up teaching catechism for at least a year.” 

67 In nomine Domini exercituum (I Reg. xvii:45). 



"Father! What are you saying! Why, she’s the 
best we have! Children come from every part of 
town to be in her class, she has such a marvelous 
knack of teaching! If we take her off, it means most 
of these little boys will simply desert us!” 

"I followed her class from the gallery,” said 
Father, "and it is true that she sweeps them all off 
their feet, but it is in all too human a way. Give her 
another year in the novitiate, and let her get a better 
foundation in the interior life; then she will sanctify 
both her own soul and the souls of the children by 
her zeal and the use of her talents. But at the pres- 
ent time, without being aware of it, she is standing 
in the way of the direct action of Our Lord upon 
these souls that are being prepared for First Com- 
munion. Come now, Mother, I see that my insistence 
in this matter makes you unhappy. Very well, I will 
make a bargain with you! I know a certain Sister 
N — , a very interior soul, but without any special 
talent. Ask your Superior General to send her here 
for a while. The other Sister can come for the first 
fifteen minutes and start the class off, just to calm 
your fears of desertion; but little by little she will 
drop out of the picture. Then you will see that the 
children will pray better, and will sing their hymns 
with much more devotion. Their recollection and 
docility will reflect a more supernatural character. 
That will be your barometer.” 

A fortnight later the Superior was able to verify 
this forecast. Sister N — was teaching all alone, and 
yet the number of children grew larger. It was really 
Christ that was teaching catechism through her. Fler 
looks, her modesty, her gentleness, her kindness, her 
way of making the Sign of the Cross all spoke Our 
Lord. Sister X had been able to take the dryest topic, 
give it a clever exposition, and make it interest- 



ing. Sister N — did more than that. Of course, she 
did not neglect to prepare her explanations, and to 
express them in all clarity; but her secret, and the 
thing that was paramount in her class, was unction. 
And it is by this unction that souls really enter into 
contact with Jesus. 

In Sister N — ’s class there were far fewer bursts 
of noisy enthusiasm, or looks of astonishment, far 
less of that fascination that could have been equally 
well produced by an interesting lecture by some ex- 
plorer, or by the account of a battle. 

On the other hand, there was an atmosphere of 
recollected attention. These little boys behaved in 
the catechism class as they would in Church. No 
human methods were brought into play .to dispel 
boredom or prevent dissipation. What, then, was 
the mysterious influence that dominated this group? 
Make no mistake, it was Christ, working directly. 
For a soul of interior life teaching a catechism lesson 
is like a harp that sounds under the fingers of the 
Divine Musician. And no human artistry, no matter 
how wonderful, can be compared to the action of 
Jesus on the soul. 

f. Importance of the Formation of "Shock Troops" 
and of Spiritual Direction 

Returning once more to that striking conversation 
with Father Timon-David , 08 surely, the reader must 
have been struck by one of the words that fell from 
the lips of that experienced founder of good works. I 
refer to the vivid metaphor of "crutches,” with 
which the Canon summed up his opinion on the use 
of various modern amusements (like plays, bands, 
movies, complicated and expensive games, and so 

68 2nd Part, Chap. iii. page 52 ff 



on) to attract youths to their clubs and keep them 
there. These attractions more often than not serve 
only to wear everybody out, and leave all listless and 
depressed, instead of resting and expanding the soul. 
Or else they merely cater to physical health, or flatter 
vanity, or overstimulate the imagination and the 
emotions. For the rest, the term "crutches” in no 
way supplies to those refreshing though extremely 
simple games which relax the soul and strengthen 
the body, and which have been found sufficient by so 
many generations of Christians . 69 

If one were to make a comparison between the 
advice of this extremely prudent Canon with that 
of other able leaders of Catholic Action, without 
quite seeing his correct meaning, one might well 
wonder if he was not too sweeping in his enumera- 
tion of the cases v/hen "crutches” can be discarded. 

Leaving to one side works that are founded chiefly 
for the relief of bodily ills, we may divide the others 
into two classes: those which take only carefully 
selected members, and those which exclude none but 
the scabby sheep. 

But we also assume that even in the latter case, a 
nucleus of "shock troops” will be formed, youths who 
will be able, by their fervor, to bring home to the 
others what the principal aim of the movement is, 

69 Translating: Dom Chautard’s ideas into English and 
American terms, we see that he approves and heartilv recom- 
mends all those games that form a part of the social heritage, 
and which appeal spontaneously to all the voune people in 
a given environment. Hence, cricket and baseball, football 
and soccer and basketball, all receive his approval provided 
thev are kept on a simnle and spontaneous basis, and do 
not demand any outlav for special eouipment. and involve 
no fanfare. When, however, it is a question of athletics on 
the scale reached hv college and even high school fonthali 
in America. Dom Chantard justlv points out the futility 
of anv pretense that such things serve the interests of Christ 
on this earth. 


and to bring all the other members to lead a life that 
is Christian not merely on the surface, but deep 
down in the soul. Otherwise, what have we got? 
"An ordinary social club, run by a priest,’’ accord- 
ing to the ironical expression of a state-school teach- 
er of great ability who was able to detect, behind the 
clerical front, just about as many weaknesses as he 
deplored in those establishments that were beyond 
the reach of the Church’s influence. 

Directors who do not hesitate to reject from their 
movements members that are clearly incapable of 
being incorporated into the shock troops, will find 
the term "crutches” exactly expresses to what an ex- 
tent they consider as secondary those means that they 
can well do without, or which they only tolerate 
with unfeigned repugnance. 

And as a matter of fact, they do not easily run 
short of arguments in favor of their viewpoint. 

As far as they are concerned, the regeneration of 
society, and especially of France, can come only as a 
result of a more intense radiation of the holiness of 
the Church. It is by this means, they say, rather 
than by lectures and apologetics that Christianity de- 
veloped so rapidly in the first centuries of its history, 
in spite of the power of its enemies, of prejudices of 
all sorts, and of the general corruption. 

They put an end to all argument by an answer 
like this: Can you quote any fact, just one fact, to 
show that during that time the Church needed to 
think up amusements to turn aside the souls she was 
going to conquer from the filth of pagan shows? 

One of these directors of Catholic Action re- 
marked, in allusion to the thirst for money and the 
infatuation for the films which keep the bulk of the 
population in our days in a fever of excited craving 
for enjoyment: "The Panetn et Cir censes (Bread and 


Circuses) of the decadent Romans might be trans- 
lated into modern terms as 'Relief and Movies.’ ” 
Now look at St. Augustine, or St. Ambrose, for ex- 
ample: what a prodigious attraction they exercised 
over souls! And yet do we ever see them, at any 
time in their lives, organizing some movement to 
provide amusements that would make their Hock for- 
get the pleasures held out by paganism? 

And when St. Philip Neri set out to convert Rome, 
lukewarm with the spirit of the Renaissance, do we 
read that he needed any of those "crutches” that so 
aroused the scorn of Canon Timon-David? 

It is very certain that the primitive Church, as 
we have already hinted, knew how to organize mag- 
nificent and numerous shock troops, in the midst of 
the faithful, and their virtues both struck the pagans 
with astonishment and excited the admiration of 
honest souls, even those most prejudiced against 
Christianity by their principles, their traditions, and 
their social background. Conversions were the result, 
even in circles to which no priest had access. 

In the presence of these lessons from the past, how 
can we avoid asking ourselves if, in our own century, 
we do not have an excessive confidence not only in 
certain garish forms of amusement, but even in vari- 
ous other means (like pilgrimages, ostentatious festi- 
vals, congresses, speeches, publications, syndicates, 
political action, and so on), which are lavished upon 
us with such abundance in our day and which are 
doubtless very useful, but which it would be a great 
mistake to put in the first place. Preaching by ex- 
ample will always be the foremost instrument of con- 
versions. Only exempla trahunt. Lectures, good 
books, Christian newspapers and magazines, and 
even fine sermons must gravitate around this funda- 
mental program: that we need to influence people by 


an apostolate of good example, the example of fer- 
vent Christians, who make Jesus Christ live again on 
this earth by spreading about them the good odor of 
His virtues. 

Priests who allow themselves to be absorbed by all 
the other functions of their ministry and do not give 
themselves, except in an insufficient manner, to the 
chief of them, which is the formation of perfect 
Christians who will do the great work of propaganda 
by good example, have no right to be surprised when 
they see that three-quarters of the male population 
in France (and in many other nations the proportion 
is still greater) remain steeped in indifference and 
see nothing in the Church but a worthy institution 
with a certain social usefulness but do not see that it 
is the one true source of all personal strength, and 
the keystone of the whole structure of families and 
nations, and above all the great distributor of truth 
and of eternal life. 

" W hat is this religion that can give such light and 
strength and fire to the hearts of men?” cried the 
pagans when they saw the wonderful effects of the 
silent League of action by good example. 

The strength of this League which existed among 
the early Christians was surely not derived solely 
from the practice of "Declining from evil.” 70 

Merely to shun the acts forbidden by the Deca- 
logue would not have been enough to arouse both 
admiration and a strong urge to imitate such men. 
The principle of exempla trahunt springs rather from 
the second half of the Psalmist’s admonition, fac 
bonum (do good). What was needed, then, was the 
full splendor of the Evangelical virtues as they were 
proposed to the world in the Sermon on the Mount. 

An eminent but unbelieving statesman once said 

70 Dcclina a malo (Psalm xxxvi). 



to us: "If the Church could find a way to impress 
more deeply on the hearts of men the testament of 
her Founder, "Love one another,” she would become 
the one great power indispensable to all nations." 
Might we not also apply the same thought to several 
other virtues? 

With his deep understanding of the needs of the 
Church, Pius X often saw things with a most 
remarkable clarity. An interesting conversation of 
the Holy Pontiff with a group of Cardinals was 
reported in the French clerical publication, "L’Ami 
du Clerge 71 The Pope asked them: 

"What is the thing we most need, today, to save 

"Build Catholic schools,” said one. 


"More churches,” said another. 

"Still no.” 

"Speed up the recruiting of priests,” said a third. 

"No, no,” said the Pope, "the MOST necessary 
thing of all, at this time, is for every parish to possess 
a group of laymen who will be at the same time 
virtuous, enlightened, resolute, and truly apostolic .” 72 
Further details enable us to assert that this holy Pope 
at the end of his life saw no hope for the salvation 
of the world, unless the clergy could use their zeal to 

71 Predication. January 20, 1921. 

72 After comparing certain passages from Pius X’s first 
F.ncyclical with various later statements made by him, it 
becomes evident that in the interview we quote here he is 
depending on the fervor of priests to produce the shock troops 
he mentions. Rut that it is on the latter, the select lavmen, 
that he counts, more than on anv other means, for the in- 
crease in numbers of the true faithful. Once this has been 
accomplished, the recruitment of priests and construction 
of new schools and churches will be assured. 

Rut when quantity docs not shring from duality we run a 
tremendous risk of producing nothing but a display of noisy 
empty, delusive pseudo-religion. 


form faithful Christians full of apostolic ardor, 
preaching by word and example, but especially by 
example. In the diocese where he served before be- 
ing elevated to the Papacy, he attached less impor- 
tance to the census of parishioners than to the list 
of Christians capable of radiating an apostolate. It 
was his opinion that shock troops could be formed in 
any environment. Furthermore, he graded his priests 
according to the results which their zeal and ability 
had produced in this regard. 

The views of this saintly Pope give immense 
weight to the opinion of the directors of Catholic 
Action who fall into the first class mentioned above. 
The ones, that is, who believe that if the only true 
strategy for action on the bulk of the population is 
to form shock troops of perfect Christian laymen, it 
follows that to retain in the movement members 
who arouse no hope that they will ever become fer- 
vent is a real fault insofar as one thus exposes him- 
self to lowering the level of the elite to such a point 
that it is only "select” in name, not in fact. 

Other leaders, who confine themselves to discard- 
ing the positively noxious candidates, will still have 
much to say against the expression of "crutches” as 
a name for certain of their methods which appear, 
in their own estimation, most effective. 

They come forward ■with the argument that unless 
souls will be exposed to great danger, or that if one 
Catholic Action provides a shelter for them, such 
aimed only at forming select groups, one would have 
to be satisfied with a microscopic recruitment, or 
that those who are to be evangelized live in a plague- 
infested atmosphere, and so on. It would be unjust 
and cruel, they say, to neglect the masses and to 
seek only to reach them through the operations of 
shock troops without attempting direct action upon 



the mediocre souls, were it only in order to keep 
them from falling lower — if not to produce among 
them some candidates for the select corps. 

# * 

We have listened with great respect to these vari- 
ous opinions as expressed by both men and women 
engaged in Catholic Action, all of them persons of 
incontestable zeal and good faith. We will not make 
any attempt to reconcile the opposing factions. Writ- 
ing, as we do, with our venerated confreres in the 
priesthood chiefly in mind, we prefer to ask ourselves 
what kind of an answer would have been given by 
the saintly Fr. Allemand, or Fr. Timon-David if they 
were asked to bring these two doctrines into har- 
mony with one another in a just mean. 

These two priests had the following plan: 

1 . To bring to light, from among the hundreds of 
young Christians in their movement, a minority, even 
though infinitesimally small , capable of really desir- 
ing and seriously practicing the interior life. 

2. Then to enkindle their souls to white heat with 
love for Our Lord, inspiring them with the ideal of 
the evangelical virtues, and isolating them as much 
as possible from contact with other students, clerks, 
or workers, etc., as long as their interior life had not 
reached the point where it could truly make them 
immune to all contagion. 

3. Finally, at the right time, to give these young 
men a zeal for souls, in order to use them to reach 
their comrades more effectively. 

It would take too long to say precisely what was 
the minimum which these two priests demanded of 
non-fervent candidates, to keep them for a certain 
length of time in the movement. Let us, rather, draw 


attention to the great importance they gave to spir- 
itual direction in carrying out their plan. 

Fr. Allemand 73 undertook the individual direction 
of each youth, and excelled in arousing holy enthusi- 
asm for perfection, and in convincing them that the 
best proof of devotion to the Sacred Heart is to imi- 
tate the virtues of our Divine Model. 

As for Canon Timon-David, he was not only an ex- 
cellent confessor, highly skilled in discovering and 
dressing wounds of the soul, but also a remarkable 
spiritual director. No one knew better than he did 
how to set hearts on fire with love of virtue, and he 
stirred up those who shared this work of direction 
with him not to be content, in their guidance of 
souls, with the principles of moral theology proper 
to the purgative life, but to make use of their direc- 
tions to steer souls towards the illuminative life. His 
earnest desire to make his priestly collaborators true 
directors of souls was something hard to equal. 

Both of these men considered that their short ex- 
hortations before the weekly absolution were not 
enough, nor were they content to stop at their talks 
to the youths as a group, their organization of the 
liturgical life, nor even their extremely interesting 
conferences for the select group. They considered 
that personal direction, for each member, once a 
month, was indispensable. 

They were convinced that after prayer and sacri- 
fice the most effective means of obtaining from God 
the grace to form these shock troops, which are to 
rebuild the world, is the activity of a real priest in 
all the branches of his ministry, but especially in 
spiritual direction. 

73 Im Vic et VEsprit dc Jcan-Joscph Allemand, by Fr 
Oaduch Paris. Pecoffre. 

run soul or- the apostolate 


Let us leave the limited area of youth movements 
and consider the whole field which the Church is to 
cultivate: works of every sort, parishes, seminaries, 
communities, even missions. 

No man is capable of being his own guide. Every- 
one has weakness to overcome, attractions to keep 
in order, duties to fulfill, dangers to undergo, oc- 
casions of peril to be avoided, difficulties to over- 
come and doubts to resolve. If one needs help in all 
this, a fortiori he will require it in his struggle for 

It would be an omission, and sometimes a grave 
omission, in a priest, bound by his duty as teacher 
and surgeon of souls, if he were to deprive them of 
this great supplement to confession, this indispensa- 
ble source of energy for the spiritual life, which is 
spiritual direction. 

It is too bad for those enterprises, or movements, 
or institutions whose confessors, ahvays in a hurry, 
scarcely give their penitents anything before absolu- 
tion except a pious but vague exhortation, often the 
same for everyone, instead of providing the specific 
remedy which an experienced and painstaking doctor 
would know how to select, according to the state of 
each patient. Even though he may have great faith 
in the efficacy of the Sacrament, is the penitent not 
exposed in such a case to view the confessor as a sort 
of "automatic dispenser,” like those slot machines 
on station platforms which mechanically slip you a 
piece of candy? 

How privileged, on the other hand, are those clubs, 
schools, orphanages, etc., where the confessor knows 
the art of direction, and is convinced that he must, 
before everything else, make use of it if he wants to 
make all these souls, potentially attuned to a high 


ideal, throw themselves wholeheartedly into the prac- 
tice of the interior life! 

How many fathers and mothers have noticed that 
their influence on their children and their friends has 
greatly increased because they have found a real di- 

What wealth there is to put into circulation in a 
child’s soul! The tree is just about to lean one way 
or another — and stay that way. For lack of spir- 
itual direction to fit their age and dispositions, from 
childhood on, many of them become adults whom we 
will no longer be able to number among the fairer 
flowers of Christ’s garden. How many priestly and 
religious vocations might have blossomed forth 
among them ! 

Often a parish or a mission will go on for several 
generations showing the influence of some priest who 
was able to do something besides giving absolution. 
Besides Ars and Mesnil-Saint-Loup, we could cite 
other places which are true centers of the spiritual 
life in the midst of a general tepidity because they 
once had the happiness to possess a zealous, prudent 
and experienced director. 

Some years ago when I was in Japan I was aston- 
ished and deeply moved when I had the happiness 
to come in contact with some members of the numer- 
ous Christian families which were discovered years 
ago near Nagasaki. I have never heard anything so 
amazing! Surrounded by pagans, forced to conceal 
their religion, deprived of priests for three centuries, 
these Christians of staunch courage received from 
their parents not only faith but fervor. Where are 
we to find the moving power strong enough to ex- 
plain the strength and duration of this extraordinary 
heritage? The answer is easy. Their ancestors had 


been trained by a superb director of "shock troops,” 
St. Francis Xavier. 

How can some of our minor seminaries, having no 
spiritual directors, serve as nurseries for future 
priests? When most of their students have not been 
put on the path to perfection at an early age, how 
will they be able to avoid mediocrity later on, in the 
exercise of their priesthood? Indeed, they will be for- 
tunate enough, these souls who are groping to find 
their way, if they are not completely derailed from 
their desire to become priests by their admiration for 
the glitter of natural talents in certain of their teach- 
ers who manifest indifference for the interior life 
and disdain for consistent spiritual direction. 

The proof of the fact that many subjects in reli- 
gious communities, contemplative as well as active, 
merely vegetate, for lack of spiritual direction, is to 
be found in the radical change we have frequently 
observed in tepid souls who have returned to the 
fervor they had at profession as soon as they finally 
found a conscientious director. 

Some confessors seem to forget that the conse- 
crated souls in their charge are obliged to tend to per- 
fection and have a real need of help and encourage- 
ment to achieve that continuous progress which may 
be applied the words of the psalm: "In his heart he 
hath disposed to ascend by steps . . . they shall go 
from virtue to virtue , 1 ’ 74 and to become, after that, 
true apostles of the interior life. 

How many priests, too, would be far more fervent 
and find all their happiness in the eucharistic and 
liturgical life, and in the progress of souls, if the 
confessor of their choice showed them a genuine 
friendship, tactfully drawing them, by persuasion, 

74 Ascctisioncs in cordc suo disposuit . . . ibunt de virtute 
hi virtutcm (Ps. lxxxiii). 



into monthly direction in view of obligation to strive 
for that perfection which is incumbent upon them 
even more than it is upon religious. 

Have you ever noticed what a great importance 
the writers of the lives of saints give to the spiritual 
directors of those whose biographies they compose? 

Do you not think that the Church would have 
many more saints if generous souls, especially priests 
and religious, received more serious directions? 

If the priest had not given such intimate direc- 
tion to the parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, 
and if, later on, the representatives of God had not’ 
exercised a direct influence upon this soul chosen by 
Our Lord, would the earth now be receiving from 
heaven the showers of roses that cover it? 

Father Desurmont often returns, in his writings, 
to the thought that for certain souls salvation is com- 
pletely tied up with sanctity. All or nothing. Burn- 
ing love of Christ, or adoration of the world and 
allegiance to the direction of Satan. Sanctity or 

If this is the case, would it be rash for us to fear 
that many priests will receive a frightful shock at 
the Last Judgment when they find out that they are, 
to a certain extent, responsible for the mediocrity 
and even the loss of souls, because they neglected to 
study the art of spiritual direction and would not 
take the trouble to practice it? They may have been 
good administrators, wonderful preachers, full of 
solicitude for the sick and the poor, but they have 
nonetheless neglected this outstanding feature of 
Our Lord’s own strategy: the transformation of so- 
ciety by means of chosen souls. The little flock of 
Disciples chosen and formed by Christ Himself, and 
afterwards set on fire by the Holy Spirit, was enough 
to begin the regeneration of the world. 


We compliment those ever more numerous bish- 
ops who follow Pius X in believing that a course of 
ascetic and even mystical theology is much more 
valuable, in their major seminaries, than lectures on 

To emphasize the importance of direction they de- 
mand above all that their seminarians be faithful to 
it for the sake of their own personal progress, and 
that all the professors hold it in high esteem and 
prove that they do so by radiating the interior life. 

In addition to this, they also want all their candi- 
dates for the priesthood to learn everything that has 
anything to do with the direction of souls, regimen 
animarum, an art based on well established princi- 
ples and on wise counsels which have been actually 
lived by those who learned the art by experience. 
Of this art of arts is it especially true that it is not 
enough to know merely what to do, one must also 
know how to do it. 

Consult the authors whom the Church considers 
masters of the spiritual life, and you will find that 
there are plenty of false ideas and prejudices about 
spiritual direction, and we must get rid of them. 

Just let the priest allow his zeal to wander off the 
course, without a compass, let him hold the tiller 
with too weak a grip, and he will find out that some 
people excel in leading spiritual direction away from 
its true object. 

It soon becomes a session of sterile gossip or he has 
to coddle the penitent’s feelings, or flatter his self- 
love; or else things take a quietistic turn, and he be- 
gins minimizing personal responsibility for sin. Then 
it is a mere school of fake piety and sentimentality 
which encourages the growth of sensible emotions, 
or of a sham religion made up of purely external de- 
votions. Perhaps it becomes a sort of attorney’s 



office where the penitent comes, out of habit, to get 
advice about all the trifling incidents of his life, his 
temporal affairs and all the little material problems 
of the home. How many other wrong roads there 
are, for the director and those he directs to go astray! 

Furthermore, the priest must take care that the 
character of his spiritual direction does not get 
warped. Everything ought to converge upon the 
object stated in this definition: Spiritual direction 
consists in the sum total of methodical and continu- 
ous advice given by a person having grace of state . _ 
knowledge, and experience (especially a priest) to 
an upright and generous soul, in order to help that 
soul advance towards solid piety and even towards 

It is above all a training of the will, that queen of 
faculties, which St. Thomas calls vis unitiva and the 
only one, in the last analysis, in which we will 
achieve union with Our Lord and the imitation of 
His virtues. 

A director worthy of the name will find out not 
only the inner cause of the faults a soul may have, 
but also its various attractions. He will analyze the 
difficulties and repugnances it meets with in the spir- 
itual combat. He will show it the beauty of an ideal, 
and will try out, and select, and control ways of 
living that ideal; he will point out the pitfalls and 
illusions; he will give the torpid a good shaking, will 
encourage and reprimand and console as required, 
but only to freshen up the will and steel it against 
discouragement and despair. 

Generally, direction is inseparable from confession 
as long as the soul clinging to attachment to sin, re- 
mains mostly in the purgative life. When the soul 
has seriously begun to advance towards fervor, it be- 
comes easier to give direction distinct from confes- 



sion. Certain priests, in order to make sure that the 
two will not be confused will only give direction 
after the absolution, and ordinarily grant it only once 
a month to those who confess once a week. 

It is not part of the program of this volume to 
develop the method of giving direction. However, 
since we are convinced that many priests ought to 
take this spiritual art more seriously, we admit that 
it would give us great pleasure to attempt to offer 
certain of our confreres, who balk at the study of 
ponderous tomes, a short and practical synthesis of 
the best that has been said on the subject. 7 ’’ This 

7f) Bibliography on Spiritual Direction. 

Special works : 

English Readers will find the following easily accessible: 
The Spiritual Life , A. Tanqucrey, Society of St. John the 
Evangelist: Groivth in Holiness , Fr. Faber (Ch. xviii) ; The 
Graces of Prayer, Poulain, Kegan Paul, London ; Spiritual 
Director and Physician, V. Raymond, O.P. ; Catholic En- 
cyclopedia, Art . “Direction’’; The Degrees of the Spir- 
itual Life, Abbe Saudreau, London, Burns Oates ; Christian 
Perfection and Contemplation, Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. 

Among other authors who have treated of Sniritual Di- 
rection : Cassian, Conferences , C, II, 1-13; St. Gregory the 
Great; St. Bernard; St. Bonaventure; St. Vincent Ferrer; 
St. John Climacus, Ladder of Paradise, 4th Deg., 5-12; St. 
Theresa of Avila, especially in her Autobiography ; St. John 
of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel. 

La Direction Spirituelle, Ven. Libermann, Oeuvre de Saint 
Paul, Paris ; V Esprit d'un Directcur dcs ames, M. Olier, 
Poussielgue, Paris; La Charite Sacerdotale, P. Desurmount, 
Paris, Sainte-Famille ; The various works of Fr. Timon- 
David, see page 55; La pratique progressive de la confession 
ct de la direction, Fr. Saudreau, and other works on moral 
and religious formation, Paris, Lib., Saint Paul ; Direction 
dcs Enfants , Simon, Paris, Tequi \Pratique de FEducation , 
Monfat, Paris, Tequi; VEducateur Apotre, Guibert, Gigord, 

Also: L’Ascetisme Chretien, Ribet. Paris, Poussielgue; 
works of Fr. Meynard, O.P., and of Mgr. Gay; L’ldeal de 
Fame fervente, La V die qui menc a Dicu. Manuel de Spir- 
ituality , by Saudreau; Principes de la Vie Spirituelle , Fr. 
Schryvers, C.SS.R., Brussels, De Vit ; St. Francois de Sales 



compendium will not only facilitate the diagnosis 
and classification of souls but will also give precise 
information on the methods suggested to help souls 
in every state to launch out into the deep, and strive 
after serious progress. 

Every soul is a world by itself. It has its own 
shades of difference. Still, as an ordinary rule, we 
may classify Christians in various groups. We have 
thought fit to attempt such a classification here be- 
low, testing souls on one hand by sin and imperfec- 
tion, and on the other by their degree of prayer. Let 
us hope that this classification may lead some of our 
respected confreres to think over the necessity of 
studying these things, in order to learn the practical 
rules for directing each soul according to its state. 

In the first two categories, the priest may not be 
able to work directly upon the souls in question but 
if he is a good director he will be able to give much 
more effective guidance to those relatives and friends 
who have set their hearts on winning back these dear 
ones, even though they may be hardened in sin, be- 
fore they are entirely rejected by God. 

I. Hardened in Sin 

Mortal sin. Stubborn persistence in sin, either out 
of ignorance or because of a maliciously warped con- 

Dirccteur d'amcs . F. Vincent; Direction de Conscience, 
Agnel et Espiney ; Lacordaire apotre et directeur de jeunes 
pens, H. Noble, O.P. ; Traite de Voheissanee , Tronson, Pt. 

II. , Praxis Theol. Mysticae . Lib. viii, c.l., Godinez ; Instit. 
Theol. Myst., Pt. II, c.i., Nos. 327-353, Schram ; also the 
works of Garrigou Lagrange, O.P., incl. Les Trois Ages de 
la Vie Intcricurc. 

In short, a serious study of Fr. Desurmont’s Charite 
Sacerdotale, of Lagrange's Christian Perfection and Con- 
templation, or Saudreau’s Degree of the Spiritual Life, will 


Prayer. Deliberate refusal to have any recourse to 
God. ' 

2. Surface Christianity 

Mortal sin. Considered as a trifling evil, easily for- 
given. The soul easily gives way and commits mortal 
sin at every possible occasion or temptation. — Con- 
fession almost without contrition. 

Prayer. Mechanical; either inattentive, or al- 
ways dictated by temporal interest. Such souls en- 
ter into themselves very rarely and superficially. 

3. Mediocre Piety 

Mortal sin. Weak resistance. Hardly ever avoids 
occasions but seriously regrets having sinned, and 
makes good confessions. 

Venial sin. Complete acceptance of this sin, which 
is considered as insignificant. Hence, tepidity of the 
will. Does nothing whatever to prevent venial sin, 
or to extirpate it, or to find it out when it is con- 

Prayer. From time to time, prays well. Momen- 
tary fits of fervor. 

4. Intermittent Piety 

Mortal sin. Loyal resistance. Habitually avoids 
occasion. Deep regrets. Does penance to make 

Venial sin. Sometimes deliberate. Puts up a weak 
fight. Sorrow only superficial. Makes a particular 
examination of conscience, but without any method 
or coherence. 

Prayer. Not firmly resolved to remain faithful to 
meditation. Gives it up as soon as dryness is felt, 
or as soon as there is business to attend to. 


5. Sustained Piety 

Mortal sin. Never. At most very rare, when 
taken suddenly and violently by surprise. And then, 
often it is to be doubted if the sin is mortal. It is 
followed by ardent compunction and penance. 

Venial sin. Vigilant in avoiding and lighting it. 
Rarely deliberate. Keen sorrow, but does little by 
way of reparation. Consistent particular examen, 
but aiming only at avoidance of venial sin. 

Imperfections. The soul either avoids uncovering 
them, so as not to have to light them, or else easily 
excuses them. Approves the thought of renouncing 
them, and would like to do so, but makes little effort 
in that .direction. 

Prayer. Always faithful to prayer, no matter what 
happens. Often affective. Alternating consolations 
and dryness, the latter endured with considerable 

6. Fervor 

Venial sin. Never deliberate. By surprise, some- 
times, or with imperfect advertence. Keenly re- 
gretted, and serious reparation made. 

Imperfections. Wants nothing to do with them. 
Watches over them, lights them with courage, in 
order to be more pleasing to God. Sometimes ac- 
cepted, however, but regretted at once. Frequent 
acts of renunciation. Particular examen aims at 
perfection in a given virtue. 

Prayer. Mental prayer gladly prolonged. Prayei 
on the affective side, or even prayer of simplicity. 
Alternation between powerful consolations and fierce 



7. Relative Perfection 

Imperfections. Guards against them energetically 
and with much love. They only happen with half- 

Prayer. Habitual life of prayer, even when occu- 
pied in external works. Thirst for self-renuncia- 
tion, annihilation, detachment, and divine love. 
Hunger for the Eucharist and for Heaven. Graces 
of infused prayer, of different degree. Often passive 

8. Heroic Perfection 

Imperfections. Nothing but the first impulse. 

Prayer. Supernatural graces of contemplation, 
sometimes accompanied by extraordinary phenome- 
na. Pronounced passive purifications. Contempt of 
self to the point of complete self-forgetness. Prefers 
suffering to joys. 

9. Complete Sanctity 

Imperfections. Hardly apparent. 

Prayer. Usually, transforming union. Spiritual 
marriage. Purifications by love. Ardent thirst for 
sufferings and humiliations. 

Few and far between are the souls that belong to 
the last two, even to the last three categories. Nor 
is it hard to understand that a priest will wait until 
he actually comes across such a penitent before mak- 
ing a study of what the best authors have to say, in 
order that his direction may then be prudent and 

But is there any excuse for a confessor who should 
prove too lazy to learn and to apply what is proper 
to the four classes of mediocre piety, intermittent 
piety, sustained piety, and fervor, and for that cause 
allow souls to moulder in their ghastly tepidity 7 or 


to come to a standstill far below the degree of the 
interior life destined for them by God? 

# * 

As for the points to be taken up in the direction 
of beginners in piety, one might reduce them, as a 
general rule, to the four following: 

1. Peace. Find out if the soul has genuine peace, 
not simply the peace which the world gives, or the 
peace that results from absence of struggle. If it has 
none, try to give the soul a relative peace, in spite 
of all its difficulties. This is the foundation of all 
direction. Calmness, recollection, and confidence also 
come in here. 

2. A High Ideal. As soon as you have collected 
enough material to classify the soul and to recognize 
its weak points, as well as its strength of character 
and temperament and its degree of striving for per- 
fection, find out the best means of reviving its desire 
to live more seriously for Jesus Christ and of break- 
ing down the obstacles which hinder the develop- 
ment of grace in it. In a word, what we want here 
is to get the soul to aim higher and higher all the 
time: always excelsior. 

3. Prayer. Find out how the soul prays, and in 
^articular, analyze its degree of fidelity to mental 
prayer, its method of mental prayer, the obstacles 
met with, and the profit drawn from it. What value 
does it get out of the Sacraments, the liturgical life, 
particular devotions, ejaculatory prayers, and the 
practice of the presence of God? 

4. Self-Denial. Find out on what point, and 
especially how the particular examen is made, and in 
what manner self-denial is practiced, whether 
through hatred of sin or love of God. How well is 
custody of the heart kept: in other words, what 



amount of vigilance is there in die spiritual combat, 
and in preserving the spirit of prayer throughout 
the day? 

All the essentials of direction come down to these 
four points. Take all four, if you will, as the basis 
for a monthly examination, or coniine yourself to 
one at a time if you do not wish to take too long. 

In this way the priest will paralyze the death- 
germs in the soul and revive the elements of life, and 
in his zeal he will come to have a passion for the 
exercise of this supreme art, and the Holy Ghost, 
whose faithful minister he is, will not be sparing in 
dispensing those unutterable consolations which 
make up, here below, one of the great joys of the 
priesthood. He will pour them out upon him in pro- 
portion to bis devotion in applying to souls the prin- 
ciples he has studied. Did anyone ever taste the joys 
of the apostolate more than St. Paul? Yet, on the 
other hand, what a burning lire had to consume 
him to make him write: "For three years I ceased 
not with tears to admonish every one of you night 
and day.” 76 

Once I heard a prelate address the following ad- 
miring and grateful words to a doctor who had 
fought hard to pull him through the crisis of a mor- 
tal illness, and who was now rapidly restoring 
strength to his body: 

"My dear doctor, I know that your son is going 
to be a priest. If he and his confreres, when the time 
comes for them to take care of souls, model them- 
selves upon your devotion and professional conscien- 
tiousness in diagnosing sicknesses and in prescribing 
remedies and a diet to bring the sick man back to 
vigorous health, then neither Jews nor Freemasons 

76 Per triennium nocte et die non cessavi cum lacrymis 
tnonens unumquemque ve strum (Acts xx:31). 



nor Protestants will be able to prevent the triumph 
of the faith among us.” 

Apply your knowledge: be devoted to duty, and 
you will receive the blessing of God. Of this there 
can be no doubt. 

And yet, take these two factors, and see what 
superhuman power they acquire when the priest who 
uses them is one of those to whom the priesthood is 
incomprehensible unless it means progress towards 


What holy revolution would sweep the world if 
in every parish, in every mission, for every communi- 
ty, and at the head of every Catholic group there 
was a real director of souls! Then, indeed, even in 
institutions where mediocre subjects have to be re- 
tained (such as orphanages, asylums, and homes) 
you would always find the whole program of activi- 
ties based on this principle of the formation of a 
select group, isolated as far as possible from the ordi- 
nary run of the members, until such time as they can 
be trained to exercise a discreet but fervent apostolate 
upon the rest! 

Anyone who wants to compare various Catholic 
enterprises in terms of the results that Christ expects 
from them, will be forced to come to the conclusion 
that wherever there is a center of genuine spiritual 
direction, there is no need of those wonderful 
"crutches” for rapid and easy progress to be made. 
Yet at the same time, you can take all the most fash- 
ionable "crutches” at once, and use them all in the 
same enterprise at the same time, and you will never 
be able to do anything but thinly disguise the lack of 
direction, without ever diminishing the crying need 
for it. 

The more zealous priests become in perfecting 
themselves in the art of spiritual direction, and in 



devoting themselves to it, the more will they realize 
how unnecessary are certain exterior means which 
might, it is true, have some use to begin with, in 
establishing contact with the faithful, and drawing 
them in, grouping them, arousing their interest, 
holding on to them, and keeping them under the 
influence of the Church. But the Church, faithful 
to her true end, will never be fully satisfied until 
souls are intimately incorporated into Jesus Christ. 

g. The Entire Success of the Apostolate Depends 

on One Thing: An Interior Life Centered on the 
Blessed Eucharist 

The aim of the Incarnation, and, therefore, the 
aim of every apostolate, is to raise humanity to a 
divine level. "Christ became man that man might 
become God.” 77 "The only-begotten Son of God, de- 
siring us to be sharers of His Divinity, assumed our 
nature, in order that having become man, He might 
make men gods .” 78 Now it is in the Eucharist, or, 
more accurately, in the Eucharistic life, that is in a 
substantial inner life, nourished at the divine Ban- 
quet, that the apostle assimilates the divine life. We 
have our Lord’s own words. They are absolutely 
clear, and leave no room for equivocation: "Unless 
you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His 
blood, you shall not have life in you .” 1 ' 1 The Eu- 
charistic life is simply the life of Our Lord in us, not 
only by the indispensable state of grace, but also by 
the superabundance of His action. "I am come that 

77 Christus incarnatus est ut homo fierct dcus (St. Augus- 

78 Unigenitus Dei Filins suae divinitatis volens nos esse 
participes , naturam nostram assumpsit , ut homines decs 
faceret, f actus homo (St. Thomas, Office of Corpus Christi). 

79 A r isi manducaveritis camera Filii hominis et biberitis 
ejus sanguincm non habebitis vitam in vobis (Joan. vi:54). 


they may have life, and have it more abundant- 
ly .” 80 If the apostle is going to overflow with divine 
life and pour it out upon the faithful, and if the 
richest source for divine life he can find is the Eu- 
charist, how can we get away from the conclusion that 
his works will have little efficacy except through the 
action of the Eucharist on those who are to be, either 
directly or indirectly, dispensers of that life through 
these works. 

It is impossible to meditate upon the consequences 
of the dogma of the Real Presence, of the Sacrifice 
of the Altar, and of Communion without being led 
to the conclusion that Our Lord wanted to institute 
this Sacrament in order to make it the center of all 
action, of all loyal idealism, of every apostolate that 
could be of any real use to the Church. If our whole 
Redemption gravitates about Calvary, all the graces 
of the mystery flow down upon us from the Altar. 
And the gospel worker who does not draw all his 
life from the Altar utters only a word that is dead, 
a word that cannot save souls, because it comes from 
a heart that is not sufficiently steeped in the Precious 

It was not without a profound purpose that Our 
Lord uttered the parable of the vine and che branch- 
es, right after the Last Supper, in order to bring out 
with emphasis and precision how useless it w r ould be 
for men to attempt any active ministry without bas- 
ing it upon the interior life. "As the branch cannot 
bear fruit itself ... so neither can you, unless you 
abide in Me .” 81 But He goes on at once to show how 
powerful will be the action of an apostle who lives 

80 Veni ut vitam habeant, et abundantius habeant (Joan, 
x : 10) . 

81 Sicut palmes non potest jerre fructum a semetipso . . . 
sic nec vos nisi in me manseritis (Joan. xv:4). 



by the interior, Eucharistic life. "He that abideth in 
Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit.” 82 
The same, but he alone. God exercises His powerful 
action through him, not through others. The reason 
is, says St. Athanasius, "we are made gods by the 
flesh of Christ.” When a preacher or catechist retains 
in himself the warm life of the Precious Blood, when 
his heart is consumed with the fire that consumes the 
Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, what life his words will 
have: they will burn, they will be living flames! 
And what effects the Eucharist will have, radiating 
throughout a class for instance, or through a hospi- 
tal ward, or in a club, and so on, when the ones God 
has chosen to work there have nourished their zeal 
in Holy Communion, and have become Christ-bear- 

Whether the fight be against the demon with all 
his wiles, enmeshing souls in ignorance, or against 
the spirit of pride and impurity, trying to make souls 
drunk with pride or to drown them in the mire, the 
Eucharist, the life of the true apostle, will have an 
influence beyond compare against the enemy of sal- 

Love is made perfect by the Eucharist. This living 
memorial of the Passion revives the divine fire in the 
soul of the apostle when it seems on the point of go- 
ing out. It makes him relive Gethsemani, the scene 
in the Pretorium, Calvary, and teaches him the sci- 
ence of sorrow and humiliation. The apostolic work- 
er will then be able to speak to the afflicted in a 
language that wall make them share the consola- 
tions he has drawn from this sublime source. 

He speaks the language of the virtues of which 
Jesus is the only exemplar, because every one of his 

82 Qui wanet in vie. et ego in eo, hie fert fructum mul- 
tum (Joan. xv:5). 


words is like a drop of the Eucharistic Blood falling 
upon souls. But for this reflection of the Eucharistic 
life the active worker will produce no other effect, 
by his words, than a passing enthusiasm. It will be 
merely a matter of captivating the secondary facul- 
ties, and occupying the outworks of the fortress. But 
the stronghold itself, that is the heart, the will, will 
generally remain impregnable. 

The efficacy of an apostolate almost invariably cor- 
responds to the degree of Eucharistic life acquired by 
a soul. Indeed, the sure sign of a successful apos- 
tolate is when it makes souls thirst for frequent and' 
fruitful participation in the divine Banquet. And 
this result will never be obtained except in propor- 
tion as the apostle himself really makes Jesus in the 
Blessed Sacrament the source and center of his life. 

Like St. Thomas Aquinas, who practically en- 
tered the Tabernacle, so to speak, when he wanted 
to work out a problem, the apostle also will go and 
tell all his troubles to the Divine Guest, and his ac- 
tion upon souls will be simply his conversations with 
the Author of Life put into practice. 

Our wonderful Father and Pope, Pius X, the Pope 
of Frequent Communion, was also the Pope of the 
interior life. "Re-establish all things in Christ ” 83 
was the first thing he had to say, above all to active 
workers. It summarizes the program of an apostle 
who lives on the Eucharist and who sees that the 
Church will gain successes only in proportion as 
souls make progress in the Eucharistic life. 

So many enterprises in our time, and yet so often 
fruitless: whv is it that they have not put society 
back on its feet? Let us admit it once again: they 
can be counted in far greater numbers than in pre- 
ceding ages, and yet they have been unable to check 

83 Instaurare omnia in Christo (Eph. i : 10) . 



the frightful ravages of impiety in the field of family 
life. Why? Because they are not firmly enough 
based on the interior life, the Eucharistic life, the 
liturgical life, fully and properly understood. Lead- 
ers of Catholic Action, at the head of these enter- 
prises, have been full of logic, and talent, and even 
of a certain piety. They have poured forth floods of 
light, and have managed to introduce some devo- 
tional practices: and that, of course, is already some- 
thing. But because they have not gone back nearly 
enough to the Source of life, they have not been able 
to pass on to others that fervor which tempers wills 
to their great task. Vain have been their attempts to 
produce that hidden but powerful devotion to the 
cause, that active ferment working through whole 
groups of men, those centers of supernatural attrac- 
tion for which there is no substitute and which, 
without noise, unceasingly spread the fire around 
about them and slowly but surely penetrate all 
classes of persons with whom they come into con- 
tact. These results are beyond such apostles because 
their life in Christ is too weak. 

Infection from the ills of former ages could well 
enough be countered, and souls preserved in health, 
by a merely ordinary piety. But the virulence of the 
pestilence in our own times, a hundred times more 
deadly and so quickly caught from the fatal attrac- 
tions of the world, must be fought with a much more 
powerful serum. And because we have had no labo- 
ratories in which to produce any effective antitoxins. 
Catholic Action has either done little more than pro- 
duce a certain fervor of the feelings, great spasms of 
enthusiasm which sputter out as quickly as they 
burst into flame, or else, in cases where it is effective 
in itself, Catholic Action has reached little more than 
a small minority. Our seminaries and novitiates 


have not turned out the armies of priests, religious, 
and nuns, inflamed with the wine of the Eucharist, 
that we might have expected from them. And there- 
fore the fire which these chosen souls were supposed 
to spread among the pious lay people engaged in 
Catholic Action, has remained latent. No doubt 
some pious apostles have been given to the Church. 
But only very rarely has she received from us work- 
ers who possess by their Eucharistic lives that total, 
uncompromising holiness based on custody of the 
heart and on ardent, active, generous, and practical 
zeal, all of which goes by the name of the interior 

Sometimes we hear a parish spoken of as good or 
even wonderful because, in it, the people take off 
their hats to the priest, speak to him with respect, 
and show a certain liking for him, even going so far 
as to do him a favor, and gladly, if need be: and yet 
in that parish the majority work instead of going to 
Sunday Mass, the Sacraments are abandoned, igno- 
rance of religion is widespread, intemperance and 
blasphemy reign supreme, and morals leave every- 
thing to be desired. A heart-rending spectacle! Is 
that what you call an excellent parish? Can these 
people, whose lives are totally pagan, be called Chris- 

Men of Catholic Action, we who deplore these 
sad results, why have we not been more frequent 
in our attendance at that school where the Divine 
Word instructs His preachers? Why have we not 
drawn deeper draughts from that intimacy of love 
which brings us close to the God of the Eucharist, 
the Word of life? God has not spoken by our lips. 
That is our fatal weakness. Let us no longer be 
astonished, then, if our human words have proved 
almost entirely sterile. 


We have not appeared to souls as a reflection of 
Christ, and His life in the Church. Before the peo- 
ple could believe in us, there had to be about our 
brow something of the sheen of Moses’ halo when he 
came down from Sinai and approached the children 
of Israel. In the eyes of the Hebrew people, this 
halo bore witness to the intimacy of God’s ambassa- 
dor with the One by Whom he was sent. And the 
success of our own mission demanded not only that 
we be known as men of honor and conviction, but 
also a ray of glory from the Eucharist, to give to the 
people some intimation of the living God, Whom 
none can resist. Orators, leaders, lecturers, catechists, 
and professors: we have all had nothing but a medi- 
ocre success simply because there has not been, about 
us, a strong enough reflection of nearness to God. 

We apostles who bewail the futility of our works: 
did we not know all along that in the last analysis 
the only thing that moves men is the desire of happi- 
ness? Let us ask ourselves, then, whether anybody 
has seen in us the reflected light of the eternal and 
infinite happiness of God which we might have se- 
cured by union with Him Who, though concealed 
in the Tabernacle, is nevertheless the delight of the 
heavenly court. 

Our Master, for His part, did not forget to feed 
His Apostles with this indispensable food of joy. 
"These things I have spoken to you that My joy 
may be in you, and your joy may be filled,” 84 He 
said, right after the Last Supper, to remind them 
to what an extent the Eucharist was going to be the 
source of all the great joys of this life. 

We ministers of the Lord, for whom the Taber- 
nacle has become mute and silent, the stone of con- 

84 Haec locutus sum vobis ut gaudiutn meutn sit in vobis 
et gaudium vestrum impleatur (Joan. xv:ll). 



secration cold, the Host a venerable, but lifeless, 
memento: we have been unable to turn souls from 
their evil ways. How could we ever draw them out 
of the mire of their forbidden pleasures? And yet 
we have talked to them about the joys of religion 
and of good conscience. But because we have not 
known how to slake our own thirst at the living 
waters of the Lamb, we have mumbled and stuttered 
in our attempts to portray those ineffable joys, the 
very desire of which would have shattered the chains 
of the triple concupiscence much more effectively 
than all our thundering tirades about hell. God is, 
above all, Love: yet we have only been able to pre- 
sent to souls the picture of a stern Lawgiver, a Judge 
as inexorable in His judgments as He is terrible in 
His chastisements. Our lips have been unable to 
speak the language of the Heart of Him Who loves 
men, because our converse with Him has been as 
infrequent as it has been cold. 

Let us not try to shift all the blame onto the pro- 
foundly demoralized state of society. After all, we 
have only to look, for example, at the effect on com- 
pletely de-Christianized parishes of the presence of 
sensible, active, devoted, capable priests, but priests 
who were, above all, lovers of the Eucharist. In spite 
of all the efforts of Satan’s minions, these priests, a 
terror to the demons, facti diabolo terribiles 85 draw- 
ing their power from the source of all power, the 
furnace of the Tabernacle, have found a way to 

8R Tamquam leones igitur ignem spirantes ab ilia mensa 
recedamns faeti diabolo terribiles (St. John Chrysostom, 
Horn ., 61 ad Pop. Anf.). 

Let us therefore go down from that Table breathing fire, 
like lions, and terrible to the demons. (This passage of St. 
Chrysostom is used in Lessons ii and iii of the nocturn of the 
Votive Office of the Blessed Sacrament in the Cistercian 
Breviary) . 


temper the steel of invincible weapons which the 
conspiring demons have been powerless to break. 
But such priests are, alas, all too rare. 

And yet, for such as these, mental prayer before 
the altar has ceased to be a fruitless and barren affair, 
because they have become capable of understanding 
these words of St. Francis of Assisi: " Prayer is the 
source of grace. Preaching is the channel that pours 
out the graces we ourselves have received from 
Heaven. The ministers of the word of God have 
been chosen by the Great King to carry to the people 
of the earth what they themselves have learned and 
gathered from His lips , especially before the Taber- 

Our one great hope is the fact that the present day 
has seen the genesis of a brand of ’Catholic Action, 
in our own generation, which is no longer satisfied 
merely to get people to go to Communion for the 
sake of appearances, but works at the formation of 
real and generous communicants. 



1. To Active Workers: Hints on the Interior Life 

If our readers were to admit now that the doctrine 
put forward in this book is a matter of considerable 
importance, we would already be achieving a good 
result; but that is not enough. 

The real purpose of this work is to get the reader 
to resolve: "I am going to live according to this 

Consequently, it is time to say to the worker in 
Catholic Action, to the apostle who has just read 
these pages, especially if he has read them on re- 
treat: "Your approval of the subject matter will have 
little or no effect unless it be united to a firm resolu- 
tion to intensify your interior life.” 

And so the aim of this fifth part is to help those 
on retreat to strengthen those dispositions which are 
absolutely necessary for an interior life that will 
make Catholic Action get results. 


Zeal will only get results in so far as it is united 
to the action of Christ Himself. 

Christ does all the work; we are only His instru- 

Our Lord does not give His blessings to any enter- 
prise in which men place trust in human means 

He does not give His blessings to enterprises that 
are kept going solely by natural activity. 



Jesus does not give His blessing to an enterprise 
in which self-love is working in the place of divine 
love . 1 

Woe to the man who refuses to do the work to 
which he is called by God! 

Woe to the man who worms his way into an en- 
terprise without finding out what God wills for him! 

Woe to the man who, in his work, wants to run 
things without really depending on God! 

Woe to the man who lives an active life without 
taking steps to preserve or to regain the interior life! 

Woe to the man who does not know how to make 
the interior life and the active life harmonize, so 
that neither suffers from the other! 


1st Principle. Do not plunge headlong into 
Catholic Action from mere natural zest for activity, 
but consult God and make sure you are doing what 
you do under the inspiration of grace, and with the 
morally certain guarantee that it is His will. 

2nd Principle. It is rash and dangerous to re- 
main too long engaged in work so heavy that it 
might make the soul incapable of performing the 
essential to the interior life. In such a case all, but 
especially priests and religious, should apply, even 
to the holiest of works, the text: "Pluck it out and 
cast it from thee.” 2 

3rd Principle. Draw up a schedule allotting to 
each activity a fixed time, and get it approved by a 
wise and experienced priest, of interior life. And 
then do violence to yourself, if necessary, to keep it, 
and control the flood of your activities. 

1 Fr. Desurmont. C.SS.R. 

-Erne eunt et projice abs te (Matt. v:29). Cf. the pas- 
sage from St. Bernard quoted above, page 71. 


4th Principle. For your own profit and for the 
profit of others, it is essential that you develop your 
interior life, before all else. The busier you are, the 
more you need the interior life. And therefore, the 
more you ought to desire it, and the more you ought 
to take steps to prevent this desire from becoming 
one of those futile longings which the devil so often 
uses to drug souls and hold them fast in their il- 

5th Principle. If it happens by accident, and 
really as a result of God’s will, that the soul is under 
great stress of work, and finds it morally impossible 
to give more time to prayer, what then? There is a 
thermometer that never lies, and always tells us 
whether we are truly fervent, in spite of it all. Sim- 
ply ask yourself if you really thirst for the interior 
life, and if, with all good will, you seize every possi- 
ble opportunity to perform at least its essential prac- 
tices? It so, you may remain at peace, and you can 
count on very special graces. God holds them in re- 
serve for you; and they will give you the strength 
you need to continue your advance in the spiritual 

6th Principle. As long as the active worker has 
not reached the point where he is habitually recol- 
lected and habitually dependent upon grace — a 
dependence and recollection which accompany him 
everywhere he goes — he is still not in a satisfactory 
state of the interior life. But in working for this 
necessary recollection, strain must absolutely be 
avoided. A simple, habitual glance of the heart 
rather than of the mind, is all that is necessary. 
This glance will be sure, accurate , penetrating, and 
will tell us clearly whether we are still under the 
influence of Jesus in the midst of our work. 




1. Let the following conviction become deeply 
impressed upon your mind; namely, that a soul can- 
not lead an interior life without the schedule we 
have referred to, and without the firm resolution to 
keep it all the time, especially where the rigorously 
fixed hour of rising is concerned. 

2. Base your interior life on its absolutely neces- 
sary element: morning mental prayer. St. Theresa 
said that, "The person who is fully determined to 
make a half hour’s mental prayer every morning, 
cost what it may, has already traveled half his jour- 
ney.’’ Without mental prayer, the day will almost 
unavoidably be a tepid one. 

3. Mass, Holy Communion, and the recitation of 
the Breviary are liturgical functions which offer in- 
exhaustible resources for the interior life and are to 
be exploited with an ever increasing faith and fervor. 

4. The particular and general examinations of 
conscience, should, like mental prayer and the litur- 
gical life, help us to develop custody of the heart in 
which '"watching” and “ praying ” ("Vigilate et orate”) 
are combined. The soul that pays attention to what is 
going on inside itself, and is sensitive to the presence 
of the Most Holy Trinity within it, acquires an al- 
most instinctive habit of turning to Jesus in every 
situation, but especially when there appears to be 
some danger of becoming dissipated or w r eak. 

5. This leads to a need for incessant prayer by 
means of spiritual Communions and ejaculatory 
prayers which are so easy, to one who wants to prac- 
tice them, even in the thick of the most absorbing oc- 
cupations, and which offer themselves in such a 
pleasing variation, appropriate to the particular needs 
cf every present moment, to the present situation, 


dangers, difficulties, weariness, deceptions, and so on. 

6. Devout study of Sacred Scripture, especially of 
the New Testament, ought to find a place each day, 
or at least several times a week in the life of a priest. 
Spiritual reading every afternoon is a daily duty 
which no generous soul will ever neglect. The mind 
needs to be brought face to face with supernatural 
truths, with the dogmas that generate piety, and 
with their moral consequences, so easily forgotten. 

7. Thanks to this custody of the heart, which will 
serve as its remote preparation, weekly confession 
will infallibly be imbued with sincere contrition, with 
true sorrow, and with an ever more loyal and more 
resolutely firm purpose of amendment. 

8. The yearly retreat is very useful, but it is not 
enough. A monthly retreat (taking up an entire day, 
or at least half a day), devoted to a serious effort to 
recover the equilibrium of the soul is almost indis- 
pensable to the active worker. 

2. Mental Prayer a Necessary Element of Interior 

Life, and Consequently of the Apostolate 

No results may be expected from a vague desire 
for the interior life, conceived after the hurried read- 
ing of some book. 

This desire must take shape in a precise, fervent, 
and practical resolution. 

Many active workers have asked us to help them 
on their way to carry out their project of an interior 
life by stating a few general resolutions. 

The answer to their requests means adding a kind 
of appendix to the present volume. 

However, we are glad to accede to their desires, 
since we are convinced that no active worker, priest 
or layman, will have truly profited by the reading 



of what has been said so far, unless he is fully de- 
termined to set apart a certain time, every morning, 
for mental prayer; and that, on the other hand, no 
priest who wishes to make progress in the interior 
life can neglect to use the liturgical life or to prac- 
tice custody of the heart. 

It seems to us more practical to present these 
three points in the form of personal resolutions. 

We make no pretense of originating a new meth- 
od of mental prayer, but merely attempt to extract 
the pith of the best methods. 

I. Fidelity to Mental Prayer 


/ firmly resolve to practice mental prayer every 
morning . 

1. Is this fidelity to mental prayer absolutely nec- 

I am a priest; I heard, on my ordination retreat, 
the grave words: Sacerdos alter Christus. I then un- 
derstood that if I do not make Christ in a special 
manner the source of all my life, I will not be a 
priest according to His Heart, I will not be a priestly 
soul. As a priest I must live in intimacy with Christ. 
That is what He expects of me. "I will not now call 
you servants . . . but I have called you friends.” 4 

But my life with Christ — Principle, Means, and 
End — will develop in proportion as He is the light 
of my reason and of all my interior and exterior 
acts, the love that regulates all the affections of my 
heart, my strength in time of trial, in my struggles, 

3 Each of these resolutions is to be slowlv meditated, or 
rather divided up into several meditations. Merely reading 
through them will not be of much benefit. 

4 Jam non dicam vos servos, vos autem dixi anticos (Joan. 


in my work, and the food of that supernatural life 
which makes me share even in the life of God. 

Fidelity to mental prayer will guarantee this life 
with Christ. Without mental prayer it is morally 


Shall I dare to insult, by my refusal, the Heart of 
Him who offers me the means to live in friendship 
with Him? 

Another important, though negative, aspect of the 
necessity for mental prayer: in the economy of the 
divine plan, it is a sure defense against the dangers 
inherent in my weakness, in my relations with the 
world, and in certain of my duties. 

If I practice mental prayer, I am clad, as it were, 
in steel armor and am invulnerable to the shafts of 
the enemy. Without mental prayer, I 'will certainly 
be wounded. Hence, there will be many faults which 
I will hardly notice, if at all, and yet they will be 
imputed to me as their cause. 

"A priest in constant contact with the world faces 
the choice between mental prayer or a very great risk 
of damnation said the pious and learned and pru- 
dent Fr. Desurmont, without any hesitation: and 
he was one of the most experienced preachers of 
ecclesiastical retreats. 

Cardinal Lavigerie, in his turn, said: "For an apos- 
tle, there is no halfway between sanctity, if not ac- 
quired, at least desired and pursued (especially by 
means of daily mental prayer), and gradual cor- 

Every priest can apply to his meditation the words 
with which the Holy Cross inspired the Psalmist: 
"Unless THY LAW had been my meditation I had 
then perhaps perished in my abjection.” r> Now this 

5 Nisi quod lex tua meditatio mca est , tunc forte periisem 
in humilitate mea (Ps. cxviii:92). 


law goes so far as to oblige the priest to reproduce 
the spirit of Our Lord. 

A Priest Is ns Good as His Mental Prayer 


1. Priests whose resolve is so firm that they will 
not even allow their mental prayer to be delayed by 
pretexts of social niceties, business, and so on. Only 
a very rare case, of absolute impossibility, will make 
them postpone it until some other half-hour, later 
in the morning. Nothing more. 

These true priests set their hearts on getting defi- 
nite results in their mental prayer, which they insist 
on keeping distinct from their thanksgiving after 
Mass, from all spiritual reading, and, a fortiori, from 
the composition of a sermon. 

They possess sanctity, by virtue of their efficacious 
desire for it. As long as they persevere in this course, 
their salvation is morally certain. 

2. Priests who make nothing but a half-hearted 
resolution and who put off, and so easily omit, their 
mental prayer altogether, distort its object, or make 
no real effort to succeed in it. 

What can they look forward to? Inevitable tepidi- 
ty, subtle illusions, a drugged or distorted conscience 
— and these are steps on the slippery path to hell. 

To which of these two classes do I want to be- 
long? If I hesitate to make my choice, my retreat 
has been a failure. 

All these things go together. If I give up my half- 
hour of mental prayer, even Holy Mass — and 
therefore my Communion — will soon give me no 
personal profit and may even be imputed to me as a 
sin. The laborious and almost mechanical recitation 
of my Breviary will no longer be the warm and joy- 


ous expression of my liturgical life. No vigilance, 
no recollection, and hence, no ejaculatory prayers. 
Alas! No more spiritual reading. My apostolate will 
be less and less fruitful. No frank and sincere ex- 
amination of faults — still less any particular ex- 
amen. Confession — a matter of routine, and some- 
times of questionable worth . . . The next step will 
be sacrilege! 

The citadel, less and less well defended, lies open 
to the assault of a legion enemies. The walls are full 
of holes . . . soon the whole place will be in ruins. 

II. What Mental Prayer Ought to Be 

Ascensio mentis in Deum . 6 "To ascend thus” says 
St. Thomas, "since it is an act not of the speculative 
but of the practical reason, implies acts of the will.” 

Mental prayer is real hard work, especially for 
beginners. Work to get detached, for a few minutes, 
from all that is not God. Work to remain for half 
an hour fixed in God, and to gather yourself for a 
new effort to reach perfection. This work is no doubt 
hard, in the beginning, but I am going to accept it 
with generosity. Besides this work will be quickly 
rewarded by great consolations here on earth, by 
peace in friendship, and union with Jesus. 

" Mental prayer,” says St. Theresa, "is nothing but 
a friendly conversation in which the soul speaks, 
heart-to-heart, with the One Who we know loves us.” 

A loving conversation. It would be blasphemous 
to imagine that God, Who makes me feel the need 
and at times the attraction of this converse, and, 
what is more, makes it an obligation for me, should 
not want to make it easy for me. Even if I have 

6 The ascent of the mind to God. 



long neglected it, Jesus calls me tenderly to mental 
prayer, and offers me special help in speaking this 
language of faith, hope, and love, which, as Bossuet 
says, is precisely what my mental prayer ought to be. 

Am I going to resist this appeal of a Father Who 
calls even the prodigal to come and listen to His 
word, to talk to Him as a son; to open his heart to 
Him and to listen to the beatings of His own? 

A simple conversation. I will be myself. I will 
speak to God of my tepidity, or my sins. I will speak 
to Him as a prodigal, or from the heat of my fervor. 
With the simplicity of a child, I will put my state 
of soul belore Him, and I will only use words that 
express what I really am. 

A practical conversation. When the smith plunges 
the iron into the fire, he is not just trying to make 
it hot and glowing; he wants to make it malleable. 
So too, the only reason why mental prayer is to give 
light to my mind and warmth to my heart is to 
make my soul pliant so that it can be hammered into 
a new shape, so that the faults and form of the old 
man may be hammered out, and the form and vir- 
tues of Jesus Christ imparted to it. 

Thus the result of my conversation will be to ele- 
vate my soul to the level of the sanctity of Christ / 
so that He may be able to fashion it in His own like- 
ness. "Thou, Lord Jesus, Thou Thyself, with Thine 
own most gentle and most merciful, yet most power- 
ful hand, dost FORM and MOULD my heart.”* 

7 A definition, by Alvarez de Paz, of the object of mental 

8 Tn, D online Jesu , Tu Ipse , Mann mitissima , misericor - 
dissima . sed tamen fortissimo , formans ac pertractans cor 
meum (St. Augustine). 



III. How Am I Going to Make My Mental Prayer? 

To make a practical application of the definition 
of mental prayer and the notion of its object, I will 
follow this logical advance. I will put my mind, es- 
pecially my faith and my heart, in the presence of 
Our Lord teaching me a truth or a virtue. I will in- 
tensify my thirst to bring my soul into harmony with 
the ideal under consideration. I will deplore what 
is opposed to it, in me. Foreseeing the various ob- 
stacles, I will make up my mind to overcome them. 
But, convinced that by myself I will get nowhere, I 
will obtain, by my earnest prayers, the grace to suc- 

I am a traveler, exhausted, breathless; I seek to 
quench my thirst. At last, VIDEO I see a spring. 
But it is flowing from a sheer cliff. SITIO: the more 
I look at this limpid water that would enable me to 
continue my journey, the more my desire to quench 
my thirst increases, in spite of all the obstacles. 
VOLO: at all costs, I wish to reach this spring, I will 
to make every effort to get there. Alas! I have to 
admit that I am helpless. VOLO TECUM: a guide 
comes up. All that is required to enlist His help is 
that I ask Him. He carries me even where the going 
is hardest. Soon I am quenching my thirst in long 

And that is the way it is with the living waters of 
grace that flow from the Heart of Jesus. 

My spiritual reading, in the evening — so precious 
an element in the spiritual life — rekindles my desire 
for mental prayer the following morning. Before go- 
ing to bed I foresee briefly, but in a clear and force- 

9 VIDEO, I see. SITIO, I thirst. VOLO, I wish. VOLO 
TECUM, I wish with Thee. 



jul manner, the subject of my meditation, 10 as well 
as the special fruit 1 want to draw from it, and in 
the presence of God 1 stir up my desire to profit by it. 

Now it is time for my meditation . u It is my desire 
to tear myself away from the earth, and compel my 
imagination to present a living and speaking picture, 
which I am to substitute for my preoccupations, dis- 
tractions, and so on. 1J This picture will be a quick 
sketch, in a few bold lines, but it must be striking 
enough to grip my attention and place me in the 
presence of God, Whose activity, which is all love, 
seeks to surround and penetrate me. Thus I come 
into contact with a living 13 interlocutor, who com- 

10 A book of meditations is almost necessary to keep the 
mind from drifting around in a foe. 

There are plenty of works, old and new, that have every- 
thing that is demanded in a true book of meditations, as 
distinct from spiritual reading. Each point contains some 
striking truth presented in a clear, forceful, and concise 
manner, in such a way that once we have reflected upon it, 
we are inevitably led on into a loving and practical conver- 
sation with God. 

A single point is plenty for half an hour ; it should be 
summed up in a biblical or liturgical text, or in some funda- 
mental idea proper to my state. Above all, we must meditate 
upon the last things, and sin, at least once a month ; after 
that on our vocation, on the duties of our state, the capital 
sins, the principal virtues, God’s attributes, the mysteries 
of the Rosary or other scenes from the Gospel, especially 
the Passion. The feasts of the Liturgy suggest their own 

31 Clauso ostio (the doors being shut) as we read in the 
Gospel suggests that I should prefer that place in which I shall 
be least likely to be disturbed — the church, my room, the 
garden, etc. 

12 For instance, Our Lord showing His Sacred Heart and 
saying: '7 am the Resurrection and the Life” — or (t Behold 
this Heart which has so loved meyi” — or else some scene 
from His life, Bethlehem, Thabor, Calvary, etc. If after a 
sincere and brief attempt we do not succeed in visualizing 
the scene, drop it and pass on ; God will make up for it. 

The whole success of mental prayer depends often 
enough on how attentively we consider the fact that the 



mands all my adoration and love. 

At once I fall into profound adoration of Him. 
That is obvious, inescapable. I annihilate myself. I 
am filled with contrition, I make every protestation 
of complete dependence on Him, and offer up hum- 
ble and confident prayer that this conversation with 
my God may be blessed . 14 


Gripped by the sense of Your living presence, Dear 
Lord, and so detached from the purely natural order 
of things, I begin to talk to You in the language of 
Faith. Faith is much more fruitful than all the ana- 
lyzing my reason can do. And so, I carefully read 
over, or turn over in my memory, this point of 

Jesus, You are the One Who is talking to me, in 
this truth. You are the One teaching it to me. I 
want to get a livelier and greater faith in this truth 
which You are presenting to me as a thing of abso- 
lute certainty, since it is based on Your own veracity. 

As for you, my soul, do not cease to repeat: "I 
BELIEVE.” Say it again, with even greater convic- 
tion. Be like a child going over a lesson; repeat over 
and over again that you cling to this doctrine and to 
all its consequences for your eternity . 15 

Jesus, this is true, absolutely true, I believe it. I 

One to whom we speak is actually living and present before 
us ; we must cease to treat Him as though He were far 
away, and passive ; that is, little more than an abstraction. 

14 We need to be thoroughly convinced of the fact that 
all God asks of us, in this conversation, is good will. A soul 
pestered by distractions, but who patiently comes back, each 
day, like a good child, to talk with God is making first-rate 
mental prayer. God supplies all our deficiencies. 

15 That is the way to make convictions take a firm hold 
on your soul and to prepare for the gifts of the spirit of 
lively faith and supernatural insight. 



will that this ray from the sun of revelation shall 
serve as the beacon of my journey. Make my faith 
more ardent. Fill me with a vehement desire to live 
this ideal, and a holy anger against all that stands 
in its way. I want to devour this food of truth, and 
make it a part of me. 

But if, after I have spent several minutes in stir- 
ring up my faith, I still remain cold to the truth 
presented to me — no use straining. I will simply 
turn to You like a child, my good Master, and tell 
Yon how sorry I am for this helplessness, and beg 
You to make up for it. 


The more frequent are my acts of faith, and above 
all the more power they have (and they are a true 
participation in the light of the Divine Intelligence), 
the more intense will be the response of my heart — 
the language of affective love. 

Affections, in fact, spring up all by themselves, or 
called forth by my will, and are cast like flowers 
before the feet of Jesus by my childlike soul as He 
speaks to me. Adoration, gratitude, love, joy, at- 
tachment to the Divine Will, and detachment from 
everything else, aversion, hatred, fear, anger, hope, 

My heart selects one or more of these sentiments, 
and goes into them in all their depths, tells them to 
You, Jesus, repeats them to You over and over again, 
tenderly, with loyal trust, but in great simplicity. 

If my feelings offer their assistance, I accept it. 
It may be useful, but it is not necessary. A calm, 
profound love is much better than surface emotions. 
These last do not depend on me, and are never a 
sure standard by which to tell if my prayer is genuine 
and faithful. But what is always in my power to ac- 


complish and is the most important thing is the effort 
to shake off the torpor of my heart and to make it 
say: My God I want to be united to You. I want to 
annihilate myself before You. I want to sing my 
gratitude and my joy to carry out Your Will. I want 
it to be true, and no longer a lie, when I tell You 
that I love You, and that I hate what offends You, 
and so on. 

No matter how sincerely I try, it may happen that 
my heart remains cold and expresses these affections 
with languor. In that case, Dear Lord, I will tell You 
in all simplicity, how I am humbled and hoiv much 
I desire to do better. I will be very glad to go on for 
a long time lamenting my deficiency, convinced that 
by complaining of my dryness to You I acquire a 
special right to a most efficacious, though arid, cold, 
and dark, union with the affections of Your Divine 

What a wonderful Ideal is that which I behold 
in You, my Jesus. But is my life in harmony with 
that perfect Exemplar? That is what I now set out 
to discover, under Your earnest gaze, O my Divine 
Companion. Now You are all Mercy; but when I 
come before You in the Particular Judgment — then 
at a single glance You will take in all the secret mo- 
tives underlying the smallest acts of my life. Am I 
living according to this Ideal? Jesus, if I were to die 
right now, would You not find that my life is in 
contradiction with it? 

Good Master, what are the points that You want 
me to correct? Help me to find out the obstacles 
that prevent me from imitating You and then the 
internal or external causes, and the near or remote 
occasions of my faults. 

When I see all my failings and my difficulties, O 
my Redeemer, whom I adore, my heart cries out to 



You in confusion, pain, sorrow, bitter regret, and 
with a burning thirst to do better, and with a gen- 
erous and uncompromising oblation of all that I am. 
Volo placere Deo in omnibus?* 


I pass on into the school of willing. 

Now it is the language of effective love. Affec- 
tions have given me the desire to correct myself. I 
have seen what stands in my way. Now it is up to 
my will to say: "I will get them out of the road. 
Jesus, my ardor in saying over and over again "I 
will” springs from the fervor with which I repeat 
"l believe, l love, l regret, I detest.” 

If it sometimes happens, dear Lord, that this Volo 
does not spring forth with all the power I would like 
it to have,- 1 will deplore this weakness of my will, 
and far from letting this discourage me, I will tell 
You over and over again, never tiring, how much I 
ivould like to have part in Y our generosity in serving 
Your Father. 

Besides the general resolution to work for my sal- 
vation, and to progress in the love of God, I will also 
add another, to apply my prayer to the difficulties, 
temptations, and dangers of this day. But what I 
want most of all is to intensify in the fires of a more 
fervent love, the resolution 17 which is the object of 
my particular examen (in which I concern myself 
with some defect I need to overcome, or some virtue 

16 “T wish to please God in all things.” In these words. 
Suarez gives us the pith of all his ascetical treatises. These 
acts of si\\o make the sold ready for a resolution never to 
refuse God anything. 

17 It is better to stick to the same resolution for months 
at a time, or from one retreat to the next. The particular 
examen. in the form of a short conversation with Our Lord, 
completes the meditation, and by noting our progress or 
regress, greatly assists our advance. 



to be gained). I will fortify this resolution with 
motives drawn from the Heart of the Master. Like 
a true strategist, I will be very clear as to the means 
that will insure success, anticipate the occasion, and 
prepare for the fight. 

If I anticipate some special occasion of dissipation, 
immortification, humiliation, temptation, or some 
important decision to be made, I will face the ap- 
proach of this moment with vigilance, strength, and, 
above all, in union with Jesus, and depending on 

If, in spite of all my precautions, I fall again, what 
a world of difference there will nevertheless be be- 
tween this surprise fault and my other lapses! No 
more discouragement now, because I know that God 
receives more glory from these ever-repeated new be- 
ginnings, by which I become more resolute, more 
mistrustful of myself, and more dependent upon 
Him. Success is to be had only at this price. 


"To make a lame man walk without a limp is less 
absurd than to try and succeed without Thee, my 
Savior ” (St. Augustine). Why do my resolutions 
bear no fruit? It can only be because my belief that 
"I can do all things” is not followed by; "in Him 
Who strengtheneth me.” 18 And this brings me, then, 
to that part of my prayer which is in certain respects 
the most important of all: supplication, or the lan- 
guage of hope. 

Without Your grace, Jesus, I can do nothing. 
And there is absolutely nothing that entitles me to it, 
Yet I know that my ceaseless prayers, far from irk- 
ing You, will determine the amount of help You 
will give me, if they reflect a thirst to belong to You, 

1N Omnia possum . . . in co qui me confortat (Phil. iv:13). 


distrust in myself, and an unlimited, not to say mad, 
confidence in Your Sacred Heart. Like the Canaan- 
ite woman, l cast myself at Your feet, O infinite 
goodness. With her persistence, full of humility and 
hope, I ask You not for a few crumbs but a full 
share in this banquet of which You said: "My meat 
is to do the will of Him that sent Me.” 

Grace has made me a member of Your Mystical 
Body, and so I share in Your life and merits, and 
it is through You, O Jesus, that I pray. Father all- 
holy, I am praying to You by the Precious Blood 
that cries out for mercy; can You refuse to hear my 
prayer? It is the cry of a beggar, going up to You, 
Who are inexhaustible wealth: "Hear me, for I am 
needy and poor.” 19 Clothe me in Your strength, 
and in my weakness glorify Your power. Your good- 
ness, Your promises, my Jesus, and my misery and 
my confidence are the only titles on which I base 
my request that I may obtain, through union with 
You, vigilance and strength throughout this day. 

If any obstacle comes up, or any temptation, or 
some sacrifice to be exacted from one or other of my 
faculties, some text or thought which I take along 
with me as a spiritual bouquet, will help me breathe 
the fragrance of prayer which surrounded my resolu- 
tion, and once again, at that time, I will renew my 
cries of powerful supplication. This habit, a fruit of 
my mental prayer, will also be the true test of its 
value: "By their fruits you shall know.” 

When I get to the point where I LIVE BY 
GOD, then alone the labor of the VIDEO stage of 
prayer will sometimes be omitted; SITIO and VOLO 

19 Exaudi me, quoniam inops ct pauper sum ego. (Ps. 
lxxxv) . 



will spring from my heart at the very beginning of 
the meditation, which tvill then be spent in eliciting 
affections and in offering sacrifices, in strengthening 
my resolute will, and then in begging from Jesus, 
either directly or through Mary Immaculate, the 
angels, or the saints, a closer and more constant 
union with the Divine Will. 

Now it is time for the Holy Sacrifice. Mental 
Prayer has made me ready. My participation in Cal- 
vary, in the name of the Church, and my Com- 
munion, will follow, as it were, naturally, as a kind 
of continuation of my meditation. 20 In my thanks- 
giving I will extend my demands to all the needs of 
the Church, to the souls in my care, to the dead, to 
my work, my relatives, friends, benefactors, enemies, 
and so on. 

The recitation of the various hours, in my beloved 
Breviary, in union with the Church, for her and for 
myself, as well as ardent ejaculatory prayers, spir- 
itual communions, particular examen, visit to the 
Blessed Sacrament, Rosary, general examen, and so 
on, will all be friendly landmarks along my road. 
They will give me new strength and will preserve the 
initial momentum that began with the morning 
meditation, and will guarantee that nothing escapes 
the action of Our Lord. Thanks to the momentum, 
recourse to Jesus, frequent at first, and then habitual. 
either directly or through His Mother, will wipe out 
all the contradictions between my admiration of His 
teachings and my free-and-easy life; between my 
pious beliefs and my actual conduct. 

* # 

At this point the writer must curb the desires of 
his heart which, in its anxiety to be of use to active 

20 See Appendix. 


workers, would like to devote a special resolution, at 
this point, to the particular exatnen. 

He fears, however, that if he gives in to his notion, 
he will make the book over long. And yet, the read- 
ing of Cassian, and of several Fathers of the Church, 
as well as St. Ignatius, St. Francis de Sales, and St. 
Vincent de Paul, persuades us that the particular and 
general examinations are absolutely necessary ad- 
juncts of mental prayer, and are closely linked with 
custody of the heart. 

Following the guidance of the director, the soul is 
now resolved to take a snore direct aisn, in medita- 
tion and during the course of the day, at some special 
defect or some special virtue which is the chief 
source of other defects and virtues. 

Many are the steeds that draw the chariot. And 
the eye is on them all at once, constantly. Yet in the 
midst of the team there is one that occupies all the 
care of the driver. In point of fact, if this one 
charger veers too much to the right or left, the 
whole team will be thrown off the track. 

The analysis of the soul, by particular examina- 
tion, to see if there has been progress, regression, or 
stagnation with regard to a certain specifically chosen 
point, is simply one of the elements of custody of 
the heart. 

3. The Liturgical Life Is a Source of the Interior Life: 
Therefore It Is a Source of the Apostolate 


I want to use my Mass, Breviary, and other 
liturgical functions to unite myself more and more, 
both as MEMBER and AMBASSADOR, to the life of 
the Church, and thus more fully to put on Christ, 
and Christ crucified, especially if I am His MINISTER. 



I. What Is the Liturgy? 

It is You, Jesus, that I adore as Center of the 
Liturgy. It is You Who give unity to this Liturgy, 
which I may define as the public, social, official wor- 
ship given by the Church of God, or, the whole 
complex of means which the Church uses especially 
in the Missal, Ritual, and Breviary, and by which she 
expresses her religion to the adorable Trinity, as well 
as instructs and sanctifies souls. 

O my soul, you must go into the very heart of the 
Adorable Trinity and contemplate there the eternal 
Liturgy in which the three Persons chant, one to 
another, their divine Life and infinite Sanctity, in 
their ineffable hymn of the generation of the Word 
and the* procession of the Holy Spirit. Sicut erat in 
principio . . . 

God desires to be praised outside of Himself. He 
created the angels, and heaven resounded with their 
joyous cries of Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus. He created 
the visible -world and it magnifies His power: "The 
heavens announce the glory of God.” 

Adam comes to life and begins to sing, in the 
name of creation, a hymn of praise in echo of the 
everlasting Liturgy. Adam, Noah, Melchisedech. 
Abraham, Moses, the people of God, David, and all 
the saints of the Old Law vied in chanting it. The 
J swish Pasch, their sacrifices and holocausts, the 
solemn worship of Jehovah in His Temple, gave this 
praise, especially since the fall. "Praise is not seemly 
in the mouth of a sinner.” 21 

You. Jesus, You alone are the perfect hymn of 
praise, because You are the true glory of the Father. 
No one can worthily glorify Your Father, except 

21 Non cst spcciosa tans in ore peccatoris (Eccli. xv:9). 


through You. Per Ip sum, et cum Ipso et in Ipso csl 
tibi Deo Patri . . . omnis honor et Gloria. ; 

You arc the link between the Liturgy of earth and 
the Liturgy of heaven, in which You give Your elect 
a more direct participation. Your Incarnation came 
and united, in a living and substantial union, man- 
kind and all creation, with the Liturgy of God Him- 
self. Thus it is God Who praises God, in our Liturgy. 
And this is full and perfect praise, which finds its 
apogee in the sacrifice of Calvary. 

Divine Savior, before You left the earth, You 
instituted the Sacrifice of the New Law, in order to 
renew Your immolation. You also instituted Your 
Sacraments, in order to communicate Your life to 

But You left Your Church the care of surrounding 
this Sacrifice and these Sacraments with symbols, 
ceremonies, exhortations, prayers, etc., in order that 
she might thus pay greater honor to the Mystery of 
the Redemption, and make it more understandable to 
her children, and help them to gain more profit from 
it while exciting in their souls a respect full of awe. 

You also gave Your Church the mission of con- 
tinuing until the end of time the prayer and praise 
which Your Heart never ceased to send up to Your 
Father during Your mortal life and which It still 
goes on offering to Him, in the Tabernacle and in 
the splendor of Your glory in heaven. 

The Church, who loves You as a Spouse, and who 
is full of a Mother’s love for us, which comes to her 
from Your own Heart, has carried out this twofold 
task. That is how those wonderful collections were 
formed, which include all the riches of the Liturgy. 

22 By Him and with Him and in Him, all honor and 
Rlory are given to Thee. O God the Father (Canon of the 



Ever since, the Church has been uniting her praises 
to those which the angels and her own elect children 
have been giving to God in heaven. In this way, she 
already begins to do, here below, what is destined to 
occupy her for all eternity. 

United to the praises of the man-God, this praise, 
the prayer of the Church, becomes divine and the 
Liturgy of the earth becomes one with that of the 
celestial hierarchies in the Court of Christ, echoing 
that everlasting praise which springs forth from the 
furnace of infinite love which is the Most Holy 

II. What Is the Liturgical Life? 

Lord,* the laws of Your Church do not bind me 
strictly to anything but the faithful observance of the 
rubrics and the correct pronunciation of words. 

But is there any doubt that You want my good 
will to give You more than this? You want my mind 
and heart to profit by the riches hidden in the Liturgy 
and thus be more united to Your Church and come 
thereby to a closer union with Yourself. 

Good Master, the example of Your most faithful 
servants makes me eager to come and sit down at the 
splendid feast to which the Church invites me, cer- 
tain that I will find, in the Divine Office, in the 
c orms, ceremonies, collects, epistles, gospels, and so 
on which accompany the holy Sacrifice of the Mass 
and the administration of the Sacraments, healthful 
and abundant food to nourish my interior life. 

Let us dwell on the basic idea that ties all the 
elements of the Liturgy together, and the fruits by 
which progress may be recognized will preserve us 
from illusion. 


Each one of the sacred rites may be compared to 
a precious stone. Yet how much greater will be the 
value and brilliance of those that belong to the Mass 
and Office, when I know how to enshrine them all 
together in that marvelous setting: the liturgical 

When my soul lives, throughout a certain period 
of time, under the influence of a mystery, and is 
nourished by all that Scripture and tradition offer 
that is most instructive in this subject, and is con- 
stantly directed and made attentive to the same order 
of ideas, it must necessarily be influenced by this 
concentration, and find in the thoughts suggested by 
the Church a food as nourishing as it is delightful, 
and which will prepare it to receive that special 
grace which God reserves for each period, each Feast 
of the Cycle. 

The Mystery comes to fill me not only as an ab- 
stract truth, absorbed in meditation, but gripping my 
whole being, bringing into play even my sense facul- 
ties, to stir up my heart and direct my will. It is 
more than a mere commemoration of some past 
event, or an ordinary anniversary: it is living ac- 
tuality with all the character of a present event to 

23 The Church, inspired by God and instructed by the 
Holy Apostles, has disposed the year in such a way that we 
may find in it, together with the life, the mysteries, the 
preaching and doctrine of Jesus Christ, the true fruit of all 
these in the admirable virtues of His servants and in the 
examples of His saints, and, finally, a mysterious com- 
pendium of the Old and New Testaments and of the whole 
of Ecclesiastical History. And thus, all the seasons are full 
of rich fruits for a Christian ; all are full of Jesus Christ. 
In this variety, which all together leads up to that single 
unity recommended by Christ- the clean and pious soul will 
find, together with celestial pleasures, solid nourishment 
and an everlasting renewal of fervor. (Bossuet: Funeral Ser- 
mon on Maria Theresia of Austria). 



which the Church gives an application here and now, 
and in which she really and truly takes part. 

For instance, in the Christmas Season, rejoicing 
before the altar at the coming of the Holy Child, my 
soul can repeat: "Today Christ is born, today the 
Savior has appeared, today the angels sing on 
earth . . 24 

At each period in the liturgical Cycle, my Missal 
and Breviary disclose to me new rays of the love of 
Him Who is for us at the same time Teacher, Doc- 
tor, Consoler, Savior, and Friend. On the Altar, just 
as at Bethlehem or Nazareth, or on the shore of the 
Lake of Tiberias, Jesus reveals Himself as Light, 
Love, Kindness, and Mercy. He reveals Himself 
above all as Love personified, because He is Suffer- 
ing personified, in agony at Gethsemani, atoning on 

And so the liturgical life gives the Eucharistic life 
its full development. And Your Incarnation, O Jesus, 
that brought God close to us, making Him visible to 
us in You, continues to do the very same thing for 
us all, in each of the mysteries that we celebrate. 

So it is, dear Lord, that thanks to the Liturgy, I 
can share in the Church’s life and in Your own. 
With her, every year, I witness the mysteries of Your 
Hidden life, Your Public life, Life of Suffering, and 
Life in Glory; and with her, I cull the fruits of them 
all. Besides, the periodic feasts of Our Lady and the 
Saints who have best imitated Your interior Life 
bring me, also, an increase of light and strength by 
placing their example before my eyes, helping me to 
reproduce Your virtues in myself and to inspire the 
faithful with the spirit of Your Gospel. 

24 Hodie Christus natus est, hodie Salvator apparuit, ho- 
die in terra canunt angeli . . . (Office of Christmas). 



How am I to carry out, in my apostolate, the de- 
sire of Pius X? How are the faithful going to be 
helped, by me, to enter into an active participation in 
the Holy Mysteries and in the public and solemn 
prayer of the Church 25 which that Pope called the 
true Christian spirit, if I myself pass by the treasures 
of the Liturgy without even suspecting what won- 
ders are to be found therein? 

If I am going to put more unity into my spiritual 
life, and unite myself still more to the life of the 
Church, I will aim at tying up all my other pious 
exercises with the Liturgy, as far as I possibly can. 
For instance, I will give preference to a subject for 
meditation which has a connection with the liturgi- 
cal period, or feast, or cycle. In my visits to the 
Blessed Sacrament, I will converse more readily, ac- 
cording to the season, with the Child Jesus, Jesus 
suffering, Jesus glorified, Jesus living in His Church, 

25 In the very first year of his pontificate, on November 
22, 1903, Pius X issued his celebrated motu proprio on 
Sacred Music, here quoted by Dom Chautard. The pas- 
sage, in full, runs : 

“We believe it our first duty to raise our voice, without 
further delay, to reprove and condemn everything, which 
in the functions of the cult and the celebration of the offices 
of the Church, departs from the right rule which has been 
laid down. For it is, in fact, our keen desire that the true 
Christian spirit may once more flourish, cost what it may, 
and be maintained among all the faithful : and to that end 
it is necessary to provide, above all, that everything be holy 
and dignified in the church where the faithful gather to- 
gether to draw this spirit from its prime and indispensable 
source: fhe active participation in the sacrosanct mysteries 
and the public and solemn prayer of the Church. For it is 
vain for us to hope to bring down upon ourselves, to this 
end. the abundance of the blessings of heaven if our homage 
to the Most High, instead of rising in an odor of sweetness, 
on the contrary places in the hand of the Lord the scourge 
with which our Divine Redeemer once chased the vile pro- 
faners from the Temple.” 



and so on. Private reading on the Mystery or on the 
life of the Saint being honored at the time will also 
contribute much to this plan for a liturgical spir- 

* * 

My adorable Master, deliver me from all fake 
liturgical life. It is ruinous to the interior life, above 
all because it weakens the spiritual combat. 

Preserve me from a piety which would have the 
liturgical life consist in a lot of poetic thrills, or in 
an intriguing study of religious archaeology, or else 
which leads to quietism and its awful consequences; 
for quietism strikes at the very roots of the interior 
life: fear, hope, the desire of salvation, and of per- 
fection, the fight against faults and labor to acquire 

Make me really convinced that in this age of ab- 
sorbing and dangerous occupations, the liturgical life, 
no matter how perfect it may be, can never dispense 
anyone from morning mental prayer. 

Keep far from me all sentimentality and fake piety 
which make the liturgical life consist in impressions 
and emotions, and leave the will the slave of the 
imagination and feelings. 

Not that You want me to remain cold to all the 
beauty and poetry which the Liturgy contains. Far 
from it! The Church uses her chant and her cere- 
monies to appeal to the sense faculties, and to reach, 
through them, the souls of her children more fully, 
and to give to their wills a more effective presenta- 
tion of the true goods, and raise them up more sure- 
ly, more easily, and more completely to God. 

I can therefore enjoy all the changeless, whole- 
some refreshment of dogma thrown into relief bv 
Liturgy, and let myself be moved by the majestic 
spectacle of a solemn High Mass, and esteem the 


prayers of absolution of the touching rites of Bap- 
tism, Extreme Unction, the Burial Service, and so on. 

But I must never lose sight of the fact that all the 
resources offered by the holy Liturgy are nothing 
but means to arrive at the sole end of all interior 
life: to put to death the "old man” that You, Jesus, 
may reign in his place. 

I will, therefore, be leading a genuine liturgical 
life if I am so penetrated with the spirit of the Litur- 
gy that I use my Mass, Prayers, and Official Rites to 
intensify my union with the Church, and thus to 
progress in my participation in the interior Life of 
Jesus Christ, and hence in His virtues, so that I will 
give a truer reflection of Him in the eyes of the 

III. The Liturgical Spirit 

Jesus, this liturgical life means a special attraction 
for all that pertains to worship. 

To some people, You have freely given this attrac- 
tion. Others are less privileged. But if they ask you 
for it, and aid themselves by studying and reflecting, 
they too will obtain it. 

The meditation I shall make, later on, upon the 
advantages of the liturgical life, is going to increase 
my thirst to acquire it at any price. At present I 
pause to consider the distinctive characteristics of 
this life, which give it such an important place in 

• * 

Union, even remote, together with the Church, to 
Your Sacrifice, by thought and intention, O Jesus: 
this is already a great thing. So is it to find one’s 
prayer fused with the official and unceasing prayer 
of Your Church. The heart of the ordinary baptized 
Christian thus take flight with more certainty to- 



wards God, carried up to Him by Your praises, 
adoration, thanksgiving, reparation, and petition . 20 

An active participation (Pope Pius X’s own 
words) in the sacro-sanct mysteries and in the pub- 
lic and solemn prayer: that means assisting at this 
worship with piety and understanding; it means an 
avid desire to profit by the feasts and ceremonies; 
better still, it means serving Mass, and answering the 
prayers, or joining in the recitation and chanting of 
the Office. Is not all this a way to enter more direct- 
ly into the thoughts of Your Church, and to draw 
from the prime and indispensable source of the 
Christian spirit ? 27 

But then, O Holy Church, what a noble mission 
it is to present oneself each day, by virtue of ordina- 

26 Union with somebody else’s prayer can lead one to a 
high degree of prayer! Take the case of the peasant who 
offered to carry the baggage of St. Ignatius and his com- 
panions. When he noticed that, as soon as they arrived at 
some inn, the Fathers hastened to find some quiet spot and 
recollect themselves before God, he did as they did, and 
fell on his knees too. One day they asked him what he did 
when he thus recollected himself, and he answered : “All I 
do is say: 'Lord, these men are saints, and I am their pack- 
horse. Whatever they do, I want to be doing too’; and so 
that is what I offer up to God.” (Cf. Rodriguez, Christian 
Perf. Pt. I, Tr. 5, ch. xix). 

If this man came, by means of the continuous practice of 
this exercise, to a high degree of prayer and spirituality, 
how much more can even a man without education advance 
in union with the liturgical life of the Church. 

A Cistercian lay-brother of Clairvaux was watching the 
sheep during the night of the Assumption. He did his best, 
chiefly by reciting the Angelic Salutation, to unite himself 
to the Matins which the monks were singing in choir, the 
distant bells for which had reached him, out in the hills. 
God revealed to St. Bernard that the simple and humble 
devotion ot this Brother had been so pleasing to Our Lady 
that she had preferred it to that of the monks, fervent as 
thev were. ( Exordium Magnum Ord. Cisterciensis , D. 4, c. 
xiii. Migne: Patr . Lot., Vol. 185). 

27 Pius X, Mot. Prop . Nov. 22, 1903, on bacred Music. 



tion or religious profession, united to the angels and 
the elect, as your ambassador before the throne of 
God, there to utter your official prayer! 

Incomparably more sublime, and beyond all power 
of expression, is the dignity of a sacred minister who 
becomes Your other self, O my Divine Redeemer, by 
administering the Sacraments, and above all by cele- 
brating the Holy Sacrifice. 


As a 7nember of the Church, I must have the con- 
viction that when I take part, even as a plain Chris- 
tian p 8 in a liturgical ceremony, I am united to the 
whole Church not only through the Communion of 
Saints, but by virtue of a real and active co-operation 
in an act of religion which the Church, the Mystical 
Body of Christ, offers as a society to God . And by 
this notion the Church like a true Mother helps dis- 
pose my soul to receive the Christian virtues. 2 * 

28 The priest, and even the bishop, is present, like any 
ordinary member of the faithful, only in his capacity as a 
plain Christian when he assists at a ceremony, when exer- 
cising no special function in it, profiting from it in the 
ordinary way. 

29 We can better understand the efficacy of the Liturgy 
in making us live the life of grace and in making the whole 
interior life more easily accessible to us, when we recall 
that all official prayer, every ceremony instituted by the 
Church, possesses an impetratory power which is, in itself, 
irresistible, per sc cfficcicissima. In this case the prayer that 
is put into operation to obtain a particular grace is more 
than just an individual gesture , the isolated prayer of a 
soul, however excellently disposed ; it is also the act of the 
whole Church who becomes a suppliant with us. It is the 
voice of the dearly beloved Spouse, which always gives joy 
to the Heart of God, and which He always hears and 
answers in some way. 

To sum it all up in a word: the impetratory power of the 
Liturgy is made up of two elements : the opus operantis of the 
soul making use of the Great Sacramental of the Liturgy, 
and the opus operantis of the Church. The two actions, that 



Your Church, Lord Jesus, forms a perfect society, 
whose members, closely united one to another, are 
destined to form an even more perfect and more 
holy society, that of the Elect. 

As a Christian I am a member of that Body of 
which You are the Head and the Life. And that is 
the point of view from which You look at me, Di- 
vine Savior. So I give You a special joy when, in 
presenting myself before You, I speak to You as my 
Head, and consider myself as one of the sheep of that 
Fold of which You are the only Shepherd, and which 
includes in its unity all my brothers in the Church 
militant, suffering and triumphant. 

Your Apostle taught me this doctrine which ex- 
pands my soul and broadens the horizons of my spir- 
ituality. And thus it is, he says, that "As in one body 
we have many members, so we, being many, are one 
body in Christ, and every one members one of an- 
other.”™ And elsewhere: "For as the body is one 
and hath many members: and all the members of 
the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body, 
so also is Christ.” 31 

There, then, is the unity of Your Church, indi- 
visible in the parts and in the whole, all entirely 
present in the whole Body, and all in each one of the 
parts , 32 united in the Holy Spirit, united in You, 

of the soul and that of the Church, are like two forces that 
combine and leap up, in a single momentum, to God. 

30 Sicut enim in uno cor pore mult a membra habemus . . , 
ita multi unum sumus in Christo , singuli autem alter alterius 
membra (Rom. xii:4-5). 

31 Sicut enim corpus unum estj ct membra habet mult a , 
omnia autem membra corporis cum sint mult a , unum tamen 
corpus sunt; ita ct Christus (I Cor. xii : 12) . 

32 Unusquisque fidelium quasi quaedam minor videtur esse 
Ecclesia dum salvo unitatis arcanae mysterio , etiam cuncta 
Redemptions humanae unus homo suscipit Sacramento (St. 
Peter Damian, Opusc. xi. c. 10. Migne, Pair. Lat., Vol. 145, 
col. 239). 


Jesus, and brought by this union into the unique and 
eternal society of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 

The Church is the assembly of the faithful who, 
under the government of the same authority, are 
united by the same faith and the same charity, and 
tend to the same end, that is, incorporation in Christ 
by the same means, which are summed up in grace, 
of which the ordinary channels are prayer and the 

The great prayer, and the favorite channel of grace 
is liturgical prayer, the prayer of the Church herself, 
more powerful than the prayer of single individuals 
and even of pious associations, no matter how power- 
ful private and non-liturgical forms of social prayer 
may be, and no matter how much they are recom- 
mended in the Gospel . 34 

“Each one of the faithful may be called a little Church 
in himself, since, with the mystery of this hidden unity, one 
man receives all the Sacraments of man’s Redemption (which 
were given by Our Lord to the whole Church).” This pas- 
sage is taken from St. Peter Damian’s beautiful treatise on 
the Mystical Body which is also a treatise on the Liturgy, 
the “Liber qui Dicitur Dominus V obiscum” or the tract on 
the “ Dominus V obiscum.” The present words occur in his 
discussion of the way each one of the faithful can say 
“miserere MEI Deus,” and “Deus in adjutorium MEUM 
intende” (as it is in the psalm and at the beginning of each 
hour in the monastic Breviary), both in his own name and 
in that of the whole Church. 

33 St. Peter Damian, quoted by D. Grea, La Sainte 
Liturgie, p. 51. 

34 St. Ignatius Martyr writes, in his Epistle to the 
Ephesians , c. v: “Make no mistake: unless one come to the 
altar he is deprived of the Bread of God. Now if the prayer 
of one or the other of you has such great power, how much 
greater is the power of that prayer which is of the bishop 
and of the whole Church? Therefore, he who does not come 
to the assembly of the faithful, is puffed up with pride, and 
has already excommunicated and judged himself” (Migne, 
Pair. Graeca , Vol. Ill, 647). 

St. Alphonsus Liguori preferred one prayer of the Bre- 
viary to a hundred private prayers. 



Incorporated in the true Church, a child of God 
and a member of Christ by the Sacraments of Bap- 
tism, I have acquired the right to participate in the 
other Sacraments, in the Divine Office, in the fruits 
of the Mass, and in the indulgences and prayers of 
the Church. I can benefit by all the graces and all 
the merits of my brethren. 

I bear, from Baptism, an indelible mark which 
commissions me to worship God according to the rite 
of the Christian religion™ My Baptismal consecra- 
tion makes me a member of the Kingdom of God, 
and I form part of that "chosen generation, the king- 
ly priesthood, the holy nation .” 30 

And so, I participate as a Christian in the sacred 
ministry, although in a remorse and indirect manner, 
by my prayers, by my share in the offering, by my 
active participation in the Sacrifice of the Mass and 
in the liturgical offices, and in multiplying my spir- 
itual sacrifices, as St. Peter recommends, by the prac- 
tice of virtues, by accomplishing all things with a 
view to pleasing God and uniting myself to Him, and 
by making of my body a living victim, holy and 
agreeable to God . 37 And that is what you teach me, 

35 Charactere sacramentali insiqnitur homo ut ad cultum 
Dei deputatus secundum ritum Christianae religionis (Card. 
Billot, De Ecclesiae Sacram., t. 1, thes. 2). 

36 Vos autem genus electum, regale sacerdotium, gens 
sancta, populus acquisitionis (I Peter ii:9). 

37 Sacerdotium sanctum , offerre spirituales. hostias, ac - 
ccptabiles Deo per Jesum Christian (I Pet. ii:5). It is in 
this sense that St. Ambrose says : i( Omnes filii Ecclesiae 
sacerdotes sunt; ungintur enim in Sacerdotium sanctum, 
offerentes nosmetipsos Deo, hostias spirituales (In Lucam, 
lib. iv. n. 33. Migne, Patr. Pat., vol. 15, 676). “All the chil- 
dren of the Church are priests, for we are anointed in a holy 
priesthood, offering ourselves to God as spiritual victims.” 

Sicut omnes Christianos dicimus propter mysticum Chris- 
ma; sic omnes Sacerdotes, quoniam membra sunt unius Sa- 
cerdotis. (St. Augustine, De Civit. Dei, xx:10. Migne, P. 
L., vol. 41, col. 676). 



Holy Mother Church when, by the priest, You say to 
the faithful: Orate f rates . . . "Pray, brethren, that 
my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable,” and 
where the priest says also, in the Canon: Memento 
Domine . . . et omnium circumstantium pro quibus 
tibi ofjerimus vel qui tibi offerunt hoc Sacrificium 
laudis, "Remember Lord ... (N. and N.) and all 
those who are here present, for whom we offer to 
Thee, or who offer to Thee this sacrifice of Praise.” 
And, further on: "Receive, Lord, with Kindness, we 
beg of Thee, this offering which we make to Thee, 
I Thy servant, and Thy family.” 38 

Indeed, the holy Liturgy is so truly the common 
i work of the entire Church, that is of the priests and 
people, that the mystery of this unity is ever really 
present in the Church by the indestructible power of 
the Communion of Saints, which is proposed to our 
belief in the Apostles’ Creed. The Divine Office and 
Holy Mass, which is the most important part of the 
Liturgy, cannot be celebrated without the whole 

“Just as we call all ‘Christians’ because of the mystical 
Chrism, so we call all ‘priests’ because all are members 
of one Priest.’’ 

38 Hanc igitur oblationem servitutis nostrae sed et cunc- 
tae familiae tuae quaesumus, Domine, ut placatus accipias 
(Canon of the Mass). 

“We all make this offering together with the priest, our 
consent is given to all that he does, all that he says. And 
what is it that he says? ‘Pray, my brethren, that my sacri- 
fice and yours may be agreeable to the Lord our God.’ And 

what is your answer? ‘May the Lord receive from your 

hands: . . .” What? ‘. . . my sacrifice and yours!’ And 
then, again, what does the priest say? ‘Remember Thy serv- 
ants for whom we offer . . .’’ Is that all? He adds . . . 

‘or who offer Thee this sacrifice.’ Let us, then, offer with 

him. Let us offer Jesus Christ, and offer up our own selves, 
together with the whole Catholic Church, spread over the 
whole earth’’ (Rossuet, Mrdit. on the Gospel. Last Supper, 
Pt. 1, 83rd day). 



Church being involved, and being mysteriously pres- 
ent . 39 

And so, in the Liturgy, everything is done in com- 
mon in the name of all, for the benefit of all. All the 
prayers are said in the plural. 

This close union between all the members, by the 
same faith and by participation in the same Sacra- 
ments, produces fraternal love in their souls, and this 
is the distinctive sign of those who wish to imitate 
Christ and walk in His footsteps. "By this shall all 
men know that you are my disciples, if you have love 
one for another.” 40 This bond among the members 
of the Church draws them all the closer together in 
proportion as they participate more fully, through 
the Communion of Saints, in the grace and charity 
of the Head who communicates to them super- 
natural and divine life. 

These truths are the foundation of the liturgical 
life which, in its turn, brings me constantly back to 

O Holy Church of God, what great love for you 
this thought enkindles in my heart! I am one of your 
members. I am a member of Christ! What love for 
all Christians this gives me, since I realize that they 
are my brothers, and that we are all one in Christ! 
And what love for my divine Head, Jesus Christ! 

It is not possible for me to remain indifferent to 
anything that concerns you. Sad, if I behold you 
persecuted, I rejoice at the news of your conquests, 
your triumphs. 

30 St. Peter Damian (also speaking of the Hauc iqitur 
. . .) : “By these words it is quite clearly evident that the 
Sacrifice which is placed upon the altar bv the hands of 
the Driest is offered by the entire family of God as a whole” 
(Lib. nut Die. Dominus Vohiscum . cap. viii. Also see D. 
Orea. La Saint e Litnrgie , p. 51). 

40 Joan, xiii :35. 



What a joy to think that, while I am sanctifying 
myself, 1 am also contributing to the increase of your 
beauty and working for the sanctification of all the 
children of the Church, my brothers, and even for 
the salvation of the whole human family! 

O Holy Church of God, 1 wish, as far as in me 
lies, to make you more lovely and more holy and 
more full. And the splendor of your whole unity 
will come forth from the perfection of each one of 
your children, built on the foundation that dominated 
solidarity 7 which was the thought that dominated 
Christ’s prayer after the Last Supper and was the 
true testament of His Heart: "That they may be 
one . . . That they may be made perfect in one.” 11 

O Mother, Holy Church, how moved I am with 
love and admiration for your liturgical prayer! Since 
I am one of your members, it is my prayer too, espe- 
cially when I am present or take an active part in it. 
All that you have is mine; and everything I have 
belongs to you. 

A drop of water is nothing. But united with the 
ocean, it shares in all that power and immensity. 
And that is the way it is when my prayer is united 
with yours. To God all things are present. He takes 
in, at one glance, the past, the present, and the fu- 
ture; and in His eyes, my prayers is all one with that 
universal chorus of praises which you have been 
sending up to Him ever since you began, and which 
will continue to rise up to the throne of His Eternal 
Majesty even to the end of time. 

Jesus, You want my piety to take, in certain re- 
spects, a utilitarian, practical, and petitioning char- 

But the order of petitions in the Our Father shows 

41 *‘Ut sint union , ut sint consumtnati in unum" (Joan, 
xvii :21, 23) . 


me how much You want my piety to be first of all 
devoted to the praise of God, 4 " and that far from 
being egotistical, narrow, and isolated, it should 
make my supplications embrace all the needs of my 

Help me, by the liturgical life, to arrive at this 
generous and exalted piety which, without detriment 
to the spiritual combat, gives to God, and generously, 
great praise; this charitable, fraternal, and universal 
(i.e. Catholic) piety, which takes in all souls and 
has all the interests of the Church at heart. 

Holy Church, it is your mission to beget, without 
ceasing, new children to your Divine Spouse and to 
bring them up "into the measure of the age of the 
fullness of Christ.” 43 And that means that you have 
received all the means, in abundance, to achieve this 
end. And the importance you attach to the Liturgy 
proves how efficacious it must be to teach me how to 
begin to praise God and to make spiritual progress. 

During His public life Our Lord spoke "as one 
having power.” 44 

And that is the way you talk too, O Holy Church, 
my Mother. Guardian of the treasure of truth, you 
realize the importance of your mission. Dispenser of 
the Precious Blood, you well know all the means of 
sanctification which the Lord has put into your 

42 Creatus est homo ad hunc finem, ut Dominion Deurn 
suum laudet ac revereatur eique serviens tandem salvus fiat: 
“Man was created to this end ; that he should praise God 
and give Him reverence, and, by serving Him, be saved” 
(St. Ignatius, Spiritual Exercises) . 

“Our end ;s the service of Our Lord, and it is only in 
order to serve Him better that we must correct our faults 
and acquire virtues ; sanctity is only a means to better 
service/’ Bl. P. J. Eymard. 

43 In mensuram aetatis plenitudinis Christi (Eph. iv:13). 

44 Sicut potestatem habens (Matt. vii:29). 


You do not call upon my reason, and tell me, 
"Examine these things, study them.” But you do ad- 
dress yourself to my faith, saying, "Trust in me. Am 
I not your Mother? And is there anything I desire 
more than to see you grow, from day to day, in like- 
ness to your divine Model? Now who is there that 
knows Jesus better than I do, who am His Spouse? 
Where, then, n’ill you better find the Spirit of your 
Redeemer than in the Liturgy, which is the genuine 
expression of what I think and what I feel?” 

Oh yes, dear holy Mother, I will allow myself 
to be led and formed by you with the simplicity and 
confidence of a child, reminding myself that I am 
praying with my Mother. These are her very own 
words, which she puts in my mouth in order that I 
may be filled with her spirit, and that her thoughts 
may pass into my heart. 

With you, then, will I rejoice; yes, with you, Holy 
Church. Gaudeamus exultemus! With you will I 
lament: ploremus! With you will I praise Him: con- 
ftemini Domino! With you will I beg for mercy: 
miserere! With you I shall hope: speravi, sperabo! 
With you I shall love: diligam! I will ardently unite 
myself with all your demands, formulated in the 
wonderful prayers, in order that the life-giving move- 
ments of the mind and will that you wish to elicit 
by these words and sacred rites may enter more 
deeply into my heart, and make it more pliant to the 
touch of the Holy Ghost, so that my will may at 
last be totally absorbed into the Will of God. 


Whenever 1 take part as a REPRESENTATIVE 
OF THE CHURCH 45 in any liturgical function, it 

45 Those who are thus delegated by the Church are : 
clerics, religious obliged to recite the office, even though 


is God’s desire that I give expression to my virtue of 
religion by being fully conscious of the OFFICIAL 
MANDATE with which I am honored, and that, 
thus united more and more perfectly to the life of the 
Church, l may progress in all the virtues. 

I am the representative of Your Church for the 
purpose of offering incessantly to God, through You, 
Lord Jesus, in His Name and in the name of all 
His children, the sacrifice of praise and supplication. 
Consequently, I am what St. Bernardine of Siena so 
beautifully called: persona publica, totius Ecclesiae 
os, a public person, the mouth of the whole Church. 4 '' 

And therefore, at every liturgical function, there 
must be in me a kind of dual personality, such as 
exists, for instance, in an ambassador. In his private 
life, such a one is nothing but a private citizen. But 
once he has put on the insignia of his office and 
speaks and acts in the name of his king, he becomes, 
at that very moment, the representative and, in a 
certain sense, the very person of his sovereign. 

The same is true in my own case when I am 
carrying out my liturgical "functions.” My individual 
being receives the addition of a dignity which in- 
vests me with a public mandate. I can and must 
consider myself, then, as the official deputy of the 
entire Church. 

If I pray, or recite my office, even privately, I do 
so no longer merely in my own name. The words I 
use were not chosen by me. It is the Church that 

they only do so in private. So, too, are all those who are 
bound to sing office in choir in churches canonically erected, 
and to attend chapter of conventual masses. The same also 
anplies to those who, without having received Orders, ful- 
fill such functions by the tolerance of the Church, such as 
servers of Mass. 

40 Sermon xx. 



places them upon my lips. 4 ' That very fact means 
that it is the Church that prays with my lips, and 
speaks and acts through me, just as a king speaks 
and acts through his ambassador. And then 1 am 
truly THE WHOLE CHURCH, as St. Peter Damian 
so beautifully puts it.' 18 By me, the Church is united 
in the divine religion of Jesus Christ and addresses 
to the Most Holy Trinity adoration, thanksgiving, 
reparation, and supplication. 

Hence, if I have any appreciation of my dignity, 
how will I be able to begin my office, for instance, 
without there taking place within me a mysterious 
activity which elevates me above myself, above the 
natural course of my thoughts, to fill me and pene- 
trate me completely with the conviction that 1 am, 
as it were, a mediator between heaven and earth. 40 

What a disaster if I were to forget these truths! 
The saints were filled with them. 50 These truths 

47 Saccrdos personam induit Ecclcsiac, verba illius gerit, 
vocem assumit (Gulielm. Paris., De Sacramento Ordinis). 
The priest puts on the person of the Church, he utters her 
words, he takes on her voice. 

48 Per unitatem fidci, saccrdos Ecclcsia tota est et ejus 
vices gerit. ‘ ‘Through the unity of faith, the priest is the 
whole Church, and acts in her behalf.” 

Quid mirum si saccrdos quilibet . . . vicern Ecclcsiac solus 
explcat . . cum per miitatis intimae Sacr amentum, tota 
spiritualitcr sit Ecclcsiac? “What wonder is it, then, if any 
priest . . . stands in the place of the whole Church, since by 
the Sacrament of intimate union, he is, spiritually speak- 
ing, the whole Church” (St. Peter Damian, Lib. qui die. 
Dominus V obiscum , c. x. Migne, P.L. vol. 145, col. 239). 

49 Mcdius stat saccrdos inter Deum ct humanam naturam; 
illinc venientia beneficia an nos deferens , et nostras peti- 
tiones illinc perferens (St. John Chrysostom, Horn. V, n. 1, 
in illud , Vidi Dominum) . 

‘‘The priest stands midway between God and human 
nature : he passes on to us the good things that come down 
from God, and lifts up to Him our petitions. 

50 Why is it that the priest, when he says the office, says, 
even when alone, Dominus vobiscum? And why does he 
reply, Et cum spiritu tuo? and not Et cum spiritu meo? The 



were their life. God expects me to be mindful of 
them whenever I exercise any function. By the litur- 
gical life, the Church helps me, unceasingly, to keep 
in mind the fact that I am her representative, and 
God demands that I live up to this dignity, in prac- 
tice, by leading an exemplary life . 61 

thing is, says St. Peter Damian, that the priest is not alone. 
When he says Mass, or prays, he has before him the entire 
Church, mysteriously present, and it is to the Church that 
he addresses the salutation, Dominus Vobiscum . And then, 
since he represents the Church, the Church replies through 
his own mouth, Et cum spiritu tuo. ( Cf . St. Peter Damian, 
in the Lib. Dominus Vobiscum , 6, 10, etc.) His thoughts on 
this subject are followed throughout this whole section. 

51 Laudate Dominum , sed laudate de vobis , id est y ut non 
sola lingua et vox vestra laudet Dominum , sed et conscientia 
vestra, znta vestra, facta vestra (St. Augustine, Enarratio in 
Ps. cxlviii, n. 2). 

“Praise the Lord, but praise Him from the very roots of 
your being, that is, let not only your tongues and voices 
praise the Lord, but also your consciences, your lives, and 
all that you do.” 

“Just as men expect you to be a saint when you present 
yourself among them as God’s delegate, so God demands it 
of you when you appear before Him to intercede for man- 
kind. An intercessor is one sent from the misery of this 
earth to parley with the justice of God. Now, St. Thomas 
says, two things are necessary, in an envoy if he is to be 
favorably received. The first is that he be a worthy repre- 
sentative of the people who send him, and the second that 
he be a friend of the prince to whom he is sent. You priest, 
who have no esteem for your sanctity, can you call yourself 
a worthy representative of the Christian oeople when you 
do not show forth the completeness of the Christian virtues? 
Can you call yourself the friend of God, when you do not 
serve Him faithfully? 

“If this is true of the indifferent mediator, how much 
more so of one who is in sin ! How can words be found 
to express the anomalies of his appalling situation? Good 
souls come to you and say: “Pray for me, Father, you have 
credit in the sight of God.” But would you like to know 
what efficacy there is in the protection thus piously invoked? 
“God is more pleased with the barking of dogs, than with 
the prayer of such clerics” (St. Augustine. Serm. 37; Fr. 
Caussette, Manrese du Pretre, le jour, 2e discourfcj. 


Oh my God, Jill me with a profound esteem for 
this mission which the Church has entrusted to me. 
What a spur it will be, to me, against cowardly sloth 
in the spiritual combat! But grant me, also a true 
sense of my greatness as a Christian, and give me a 
childlike attitude before Your holy Church, so that 
I may profit abundantly by the treasures of interior 
life laid up in the holy Liturgy. 


As a PRIEST, when I consecrate the Blessed Eu- 
cahrist or administer the Sacraments, l must stir up 
the conviction that I am a MINISTER OF JESUS 
CHRIST , and therefore an alter Christus. And I 
must hold it as certain that if I am to find, in the 
exercise of my functions, the special graces necessary 
to acquire the virtues demanded by my priesthood, 
everything depends on me: 1 ' 

O Jesus, Your faithful children form a single 
Body, but in that Body "all the members have not 
the same office.” 53 "There are diversities of graces.” 54 

Since You willed to leave to the Church a visible 
Sacrifice, You endowed her with a priesthood whose 
principal end is to continue Your immolation on the 
altar, and then to distribute Your Precious Blood by 
the Sacraments and to sanctify Your Mystical Body 
by communicating to it Your divine Life. 

Sovereign Priest, You decided from all eternity to 
choose and consecrate me as Your minister in order 

s2 What is said here regarding priests also applies, in 
due proportion, to deacons and subdeacons. 

53 Omnia autem membra non eundem actum habent (Rom. 
xii :4) . 

54 Dtvisiones gratiarum sunt (I Cor. xii:4). 



to exercise Your Priesthood through me?" You com- 
municated to me Your powers in order to accomplish 
by my co-operation /' 0 a work greater than the crea- 
tion of the universe, the miracle of Transubstantia- 
tion, and in order to remain, by this miraculous 
means, the Host and the Religion of Your Church. 

What meaning I find, now, in the exuberant terms 
with which the Fathers of the Church seek to ex- 
press the magnitude of the priestly dignity . 57 Indeed, 
their words logically compel me to consider myself 

55 Ipse cst principalis Sacerdos, qui, in omnibus et per 
omncs Sacerdotes novt Testament! , offert. Ideo enim quia 
erat Sacerdos in aeternum instituit Apostolos Sacerdotes i 
up per ipsos suum Saccrdotium exsequeretur (De Lugo, 
De Euchar., Disp. xix, Sec. VI, n. 86). 

56 Dei adjutorcs sumus (I Cor. iii:9). 

57 The Holy Fathers seem to have exhausted their elo- 
quence in speaking of the dignity of the priest. Their 
thoughts may be summed up in a word, if we say that this 
dignity outstrips everything else in creation : God alone is 

Sublimitas sacerdotis nullis comparationibus potest adae- 
quan. “The sublimity of the priest can be expressed by no 
comparison’ 1 (St. Ambrose. De Dign. Sacerd ., c. ii). 

Qui sacerdotem dicit, prorsus divinum insinuat virum. 
When you say “priest,” you are s_peaking of a man who is 
altogether divine (St. Dionysius, the “ Areopagite”) . 

Practulit vos rcgibus et imperatoribus, praetulit vcsirum 
ordinem ordinibtts omnibus, imo ut altius loquar, praetulit 
vos Angelis et Archangelis , Thronis et Dominationibus . ‘‘He 
has placed you above kings and emperors, he has placed 
your order above all other orders, indeed, to go higher still, 
he has placed you above the angels and archangels, Thrones 
and Dominations” (St. Bernard, Scrm. ad Past, in Syn., an 
apocryphal work, Migne, P.L., vol. 184. col. 1086). 

Perspicuum esf illam esse illorum saccrdotum functionem 
qua nulla major cxcogitari possit. Quare mcrito non solum 
angcli, sed dii etiam, quia Dei immortalis vim et numen apud 
nos teneant , appellantnr. 

“It is evident that this is that function of priests, than 
which no greater can be conceived. Wherefore they are 
rightly called not only angels, but even gods, because they 
hold, among us, the power and might of the undying God” 
(Cat. Rom. de Ord., 1). 


by virtue of Your priesthood, communicated to me, as 
Your other self, Sacerdos alter Christus. 

Is there not, in fact, an // identification between You 
and me? After all, Your Person and mine are so 
truly one that when I pronounce the words: Hoc est 
Corpus meum, Hie est calix Sanguinis mei, You 
make them Your own? 58 

I lend You my lips, since I can say, without lying: 
My Body, My Blood.™ All that is necessary is for 

58 Reliqua omnia quae dicuniur in superioribus a sacerdote 
dicuntur. . . . Ubi veyiitur ut conficiatur venerabile Sacra- 
mentum jam non suis sermonibus utitur sacerdos , sed utitur 
sermonibus Christi. Ergo sermo Christi conficit hoc Sacra - 
mentum. Quis est sermo Christi ? Nempe is quo facta sunt 
omnia . 

“All the other words, uttered in the prayers up to this 
point in the Mass, are spoken by the priest in his own per- 
son. . . . But when the time comes to confect the adorable 
Sacrament, the priest now no longer uses his own words, 
but utters the words of Christ. And therefore this Sacra- 
ment is confected by the word of Christ. What is the Word 
of Christ? It is that Word by which all things were created'’ 
(St. Ambrose, De Sacramentis , Lib. iv, c. 4, n. 14). 

Ecce Ambrosius no solum vult sacerdotem loqui in per- 
sona Christi sed etiam non loqui in propria persona, neque 
ilia esse verba sacerdotis. Quia, cum sacerdos assumatur a 
Christo ut cum repraesentet, et ut Christus per os sacerdotis 
loquatur, non decuit sacerdotem adhuc retinere in his verbis 
propriam personam. 

“See how Ambrose would have the priest not only speak 
in the person of Christ, but also not to speak in his own 
person : nor would he have these words be the priest’s at 
all. For, since the priest is assumed by Christ, to represent 
Him, and in order that Christ may speak through the mouth 
of the priest, it is not fitting that the priest should, when 
uttering these words, retain his own person” (De Lugo, De 
Euch disp. xi, sec. v, n. 103). 

59 Ipse est , ( Christus ) qui sanctificat et immolat. . . . 
Cum vidcris sacerdotem off erentem , ne ut sacerdotem esse 
putes , sed Christi ntanum inznsibiliter extentam . . . . Sacer- 
dos linguam suam commodat . 

“It is Christ Himself who sanctifies and immolates. . . 
When you see the priest offering the Holy Sacrifice, do not 
think that it is as a priest that he does so, but as the hand 


me to will to make this consecration, and Y ou will it 
also. Your will is fused with mine. In the greatest 
act which You can perform here below, Your soul is 
tightly bound together with mine. I lend You what 
is most mine, my will. And at once Your will and 
mine are fused. 

So true is it that You act through me, that if I 
dared to say, over the matter of the Sacrifice, "This 
is the Body of Jesus Christ,” instead of "this is My 
Body,” the Consecration would not be valid. 

The Blessed Eucharist is Your very Self, Jesus, hid- 
den under the appearances of bread. And does not 
every Mass make it more strikingly clear to me that 
You yourself are the Priest ; 60 for You are the only 
Priest; and it is You that are concealed under the 
appearances of the one You have chosen as Your 

Alter Christus! I re-live that phrase every time I 
confer one of the other Sacraments. You alone are 
able to say, in Your quality of Redeemer, "Ego te 
baptizo,” "Ego te absolvo,” thus exercising a power 
no less divine than that of creation itself. I too utter 
these same words. And the angels are more attentive 
to them than to the fiat which made worlds spring 
forth where there was nothingness , 61 since (and what 
a miracle it is, too! ) they are capable of forming 
God in a soul, and producing a Child of God who 
participates in the intimate life of the Divinity. 

of Christ, invisibly extended. . . . The priest lends his 
tongue” (St. Chrysostom, Horn. 86, in Joan. n. 4). 

60 Nihil aliud Sacrifex quam Christi simulacrum: “The 
sacrificer is simply an image of Christ” (Petr. Bles., Trac. 
Ryth de Euch. c. viii). 

01 Majus opus est ex impio justum facere quam creart 
coelum et terram: “It is a greater work to make a just 
man out of a sinner, than to create heaven and earth” (St. 


At every priestly function, I can almost hear You 
saying to me: "My son, how is it possible for you 
to imagine that after I have made you, by 
these divine powers, another Christ, I should tol- 
erate that in your practical routine of living you 
should be WITHOUT CHRIST or even AGAINST 

"What! In the exercise of these priestly functions, 
you have just acted as one whose being has been 
melted into My very own Being. And a few minutes 
later, Satan comes and takes My place and makes 
you, by sin, a sort of Antichrist, or hypnotizes you to 
such a degree of torpor that you deliberately forget 
the obligation to imitate Me, and to strive, as My 
Apostle says, to "put Me on”? 

" Absit ! You can count on My mercy when human 
weakness alone is the cause of your daily faults, 
which you right away regret and for which you 
quickly make reparation. But if you cooly adopt a 
program of systematic infidelities, and return from 
these to your sublime functions without any remorse, 
you will only arouse My anger! 

"What an abyss there is between your functions 
and those of the priests of the Old Law. And yet, if 
My prophets uttered dire threats against Sion, be- 
cause of the sins of the people or the rulers, listen to 
what came of the prevarication of the priests: 'The 
Lord hath accomplished His wrath. He hath poured 
out His fierce anger; and He hath kindled a fire in 
Sion and it hath devoured the foundations thereof 
. . . for the iniquities of her priests .’ 112 

"With what severity, too, does my Church forbid 
the priest to approach the altar or to confer the Sac- 
raments if there remain one single mortal sin upon 
his conscience! 

62 Lamentations iv:ll-13. 



''Inspired by Me, she goes still further. Her very 
rites compel you to be either truly holy or an im- 
postor. Either you will have to make up your mind 
to live an interior life, or else resign yourself to say 
to Me from the beginning of Mass to the end, things 
that you do not really think, and ask of Me things 
that you do not desire. The sacred words and cere- 
monies necessarily imply, in the priest, a spirit of 
compunction and a desire to purify his soul of his 
slightest faults; therefore, custody of the heart. They 
imply a spirit of adoration, and, therefore, of recol- 
lection. They imply a spirit of faith, hope, and love, 
and, therefore, a supernatural trend in everything 
that you say or do during the day, and in all your 

O Jesus, I fully realize that to put on the sacred 
vestments without being firmly resolved to strive to 
acquire the virtues which they symbolize, is only a 
kind of hypocrisy. It is my will that henceforth bows 
and genuflections, signs of the Cross and other cere- 
monies, and all the formulas of prayer may never 
be a hollow fraud hiding emptiness, coldness, indif- 
ference for the interior life, and adding to my faults 
that of a lying mummery under the very eyes of 
the Eternal God. 

Let me then tremble with a holy fear every time 
I draw near to Your dread mysteries, every time I 
put on the liturgical vestments. Let the prayers 
with which I accompany this act, the formulas of the 
Missal and Ritual, so full of unction and strength, 
move me to scrutinize my own heart and find out 
whether it is truly in harmony with Yours . O Jesus; 
that is to say, whether I have a loyal and practical 
desire to imitate You by leading an interior life. 

O my soul, get rid of all those compromises which 
might lead me to consider it enough to be an "alter 



Cbristus” only during my sacred functions, and to 
believe that after them, provided I am not actually 
against Christ, I can dispense myself from working 
to put on Jesus Christ. 

Here I am, not merely an ambassador of Jesus 
Crucified, but actually His other Self. Can I attempt 
to get away with an easy-going piety, and content 
myself with commonplace virtues? 

Useless for me to try and persuade myself that the 
cloistered monk is bound, more than I am, to strive 
after the imitation of Christ and to acquire an in- 
terior life. It is a grave error, based upon a mis- 

The religious is obliged to tend to sanctity by the 
use of certain special means; that is, vows of obedi- 
ence and poverty, and keeping his rule. As a priest, 
I am not restricted to these means; but I am obliged 
to pursue and to realize the same end, and I am so 
obliged by many more considerations than the con- 
secrated soul who does not have the responsibility 
of distributing the Precious Blood . 63 

83 Vos estis lux mundi, vos estis sal terrae. Quod si sal 
cvanncrit in quo salictur? “You are the light of the world 
. . . You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its 
savor, wherewith shall it be salted?” (Matt. v:13). 

Exemplum esto fidelium in verbo, in conversatione , in 
caritate, in fide, in castitate. “Be thou an example of the 
faithful in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in 
chastity” (I Tim. iv:12). 

In divino omni quis audeat aliis fieri nisi secundum om- 
nem habitum suum factus sit Deo formissimus et Deo simil- 
limus. “In all divine things, who is there that would dare 
to show the way to others unless in all his habits he him- 
self first be most closely patterned on God, and most like 
to God?” (S. Dionysius. De Eccles. Hier.). 

Sacerdos debet vitam habere intmaculatam , ut omnes in 
ilium, veluti in aliquod exemplum excellens, intueantur. “The 
priest should lead a life that is without blemish, in order 
that everyone may look to him for a perfect example” (St. 
John Chrysostom, Horn, x, in Tim.). 



Woe to me, then, if I lull myself to sleep with an 
illusion that is beyond doubt culpable since it could 
have easily been dispelled by a glance at the teaching 
of the Church and of her saints: an illusion whose 
falsity will be brought home to me on the threshold 
of eternity. 

Woe to me if I do not know how to take advan- 
tage of my liturgical functions to discover what You 
demand of me, or if I remain deaf to the voices of all 

Nihil in sacerdote commune cum multitudine. Vita sacer - 
dotis praepondcrare dehet % sicut Praeponderat gratia. “The 
priest lias nothing in common with the multitude. The life 
of the priest should excel as grace excels” (St. Ambrose, 
Epist. 82). 

Aut caeteris honestiores, aut fabula omnibus sunt sacer- 
dotcs. “Priests are either better than everybody else, or 
else a gcandal to everybody else” (St. Bernard, De Con- 
sideratione. Lib. iv, c. 6). 

Sicut illi qui Ordinem suscipiunt , super plebem consti- 
tuuntur gradu Ordinis, ita ct superiores sint merito sanctita- 
tis . “Just as they who receive Holy Orders are constituted 
above the crowd by the degree of their Order, so too they 
ought to stand out by virtue of their holiness” (St. Thomas, 
Supply q. 35). 

Sic dccct omnes clcricos in sortem Domini vocatos , vitam 
moresque suos omnes componere , ut habitu , gcstu, incessu . 
sermone , aliisaue omnibus rebus nihil nisi grave , moderate 
ac religione plenum prac se jcrant. “Thus it is fitting that 
all clerics called to the service of the Lord should order 
their life and manners in such wise that in their dress, their 
gestures, their gait, their speech, and in all other things 
they should display nothing but what is grave and proper 
and full of religion” (Council of Trent, sess. 22, c. 1, de 
reform.) . 

Si religiosus careat Ordine, manifestum est excellere prae- 
eminentiam Ordinis quantum ad dignitatem , quia per sacrum 
Ordinem aliquis deputatur ad dignissima ministeria , quibus 
ipsi Christo servitur in Sacramento altaris; ad quod requiri- 
tur major sanctitas interior ouam requirat etiam religionis 
status. “In the case of a religious who has not received Holy 
Orders, it is clear that the Holy Orders have a far superior 
dignity (to the vows of religion) since by Orders a man is 
deputed to the most noble of all ministries; namely, that 
by which Christ Himself is served in the Sacrament of the 
Altar; and this demands a greater interior sanctity than is 



the holy objects that surround me: the altar, the con- 
fessional, the baptismal font, the vessels, linen and 
vestments. Imitamini quod tractatis — "imitate what 
you handle.” 04 

"Be ye clean you that carry the vessels of the 
Lord.” 0i 

"For they offer the burnt-offering of the Lord and 
the bread of their God and therefore they shall be 
holy.” 06 

I would be all the less excusable, Jesus, for turn- 
ing a deaf ear to these appeals, inasmuch as each one 
of my functions is the occasion of an actual grace 
which You offer me to form my soul to Your image 
and likeness. 

It is the Church that solicits this grace It is her 
heart full of jealous eagerness to fulfill Your ex- 
pectations, that cares for me like the apple of her 
eye. It is She who, before my ordination, tried to 
make me see what immensely important conse- 
quences were involved in this identification of me 
with You. 

Impone, Domine, capiti meo galeam salutis, . . . 
praecinge mecingulo puritatis . . . Ut indulgeris 

required even by the religious state” (St. Thomas, 2a 2ae. 
q. 184). 

Vix bonus monachus facit bonum clericum. “A good 
monk will not necessarily be a good cleric” (St. Augustine. 
ad Val.). 

Nullam ascensus et deificationis niensuram agnoscant. 
“Let them know no limit to spiritual progress, nor to like- 
ness to God” (St. Greg. Naz.). 

Pares Deo conentur esse sanctitate, ut qui viderit mini- 
strum altaris Dominum veneretur. “Let them attempt to be 
equal to God in sanctity, in order that whosoever sees the 
minister of the altar may revere God in him” (St. Ambrose. 
de Offlc., c. 5). 

64 Roman Pontifical : Rites of Ordination. 

65 Mundamini qui fertis zrasa Domini (Isa. lii:12) 

66 Incensum et panes offerunt Deo, et ideo sancti erunt 
(Levit. xxi:6). 


omnia peccata mea. Fac me tuis semper inhaerere 
mandatis et a te numquam separari permittas, etc ., 67 
it is no longer I that make these petitions for my- 
self. They are being made by all the true faithful, 
all the fervent souls consecrated to You, all the mem- 
bers of the Ecclesiastical heirarchy who made my 
poor prayer their prayer. Their cry rises to Your 
throne. It is the voice of Your Spouse that You 
hear. And when Your priests are resolved to lead 
an interior life, and therefore bring their hearts into 
harmony with their liturgical functions, You always 
grant these entreaties made for them by the Church. 

Instead, then, of excluding myself by my volun- 
tary negligence from these suffrages which I address 
to Your Father for the faithful at large, when saying 
Mass or administering the Sacraments, I want to 
profit by these graces, Jesus. At each one of my 
priestly acts I will open my heart wide to Your ac- 
tion. Then You will fill it with light consolation 
and power which, in spite of all the obstacles, will 
enable me to identify my judgments with Yours, my 
affections and desires with Yours, just as my Priest- 
hood identifies me ivith You, Eternal Priest, when, 
through me, make Yourself a Victim upon the altar, 
or Redeemer of souls. 

• • 

A few words to sum up the three principles of the 
liturgical life. 


When I unite with the Church as a simple Chris- 
tian, this very union impels me to fill myself with 
her thoughts and her aspirations. 

67 From the prayers said by the Priest while vesting, 
and also just before Communion in the Mass. 




When the Church herself is represented in my per- 
son, so that I, so to speak, am the Church, and so act 
as her ambassador before the throne of God, I am all 
the more powerfully drawn to make her aspirations 
my own, in order to be less unworthy to address my- 
self to His Thrice Holy Majesty, and, by means of 
official prayers, to exercise a more efficacious apos- 


But when, by virtue of my participation in the 
Priesthood of Christ, I am an alter Christus, what 
terms can express the insistence with which You call 
me, Jesus, to take on more and more of Your divine 
likeness, aad that I may thus manifest You to the 
faithful and move them, by the apostolate of good 
example to follow You? 

IV. The Advantages of the Liturgical Life 

a. It Helps Me to Be Permanently Supernatural in 

All My Acts 

How hard it is for me, O my God, to base the ordi- 
nary run of my actions upon a supernatural motive! 
Satan and creatures conspire with my self-love to 
lure my soul and faculties away from their depend- 
ence upon Jesus living within me. 

How many times, in the course of the day, this 
purity of intention which so greatly affects the merit 
of my actions and the efficacy of my apostolate is 
ruined through lack of vigilance or of fidelity! Only 
continual effort will obtain for me, with God’s help 
the power to ensure that most of my actions may 
have grace as their vivifying principle, and be di- 
rected by grace, towards God, as their end. 



I cannot make these efforts without mental prayer. 
Yet what a difference it makes, when this striving 
for purity of intention has, for its background, the 
liturgical life! Mental prayer and the liturgical life 
are two sisters who help each other. Mental prayer, 
before my Mass and Office, puts me in a supernatural 
atmosphere. The liturgical life makes it possible to 
transmit the fruits of my mental prayer to all the 
actions of the day . 98 

* * 

O Holy Church, when you are teaching me, how 
easy it is for me to acquire the habit of giving to my 
Creator and Father at all times the worship that is 
His due! You are the Spouse of Him Who is Adora- 
tion, Thanksgiving, Reparation, and Meditation in 
the highest degree, and, by your Liturgy, you give 
me that thirst, which Jesus had, to glorify His Fa- 
ther; and this is the first end you had in view when 
you established the Liturgy. 

Is it not obvious that if I live the liturgical life I 
will become steeped in the virtue of religion, since 
the whole Liturgy is nothing but the continuous and 
public exercise of that virtue, which is the most ex- 
cellent of all virtues after Faith, Hope, and Charity? 

If I make use of the light of faith, it is quite true 
hat I can manifest the dependence of all my faculties 
upon God, as well as piety, vigilance, and valor in 
tl e spiritual combat. But what great need there is for 
this human being of mine, composed of body and 
soul, to receive the assistance of its every faculty in 
order to fix the mind upon eternal values, and fill the 
heart with an eager enthusiasm to profit by them, 

68 “I make a good meditation in order to be able to say 
Mass well ; and I say Mass and my Office with devotion 
in order that I may make a good meditation the following 
morning” (Fr. Olivaint). 


and excite the will to ask for them repeatedly and 
to strive, without respite, to possess them! 

The Liturgy grips my entire being. The whole 
complex of ceremonies, genuflections, bows, sym- 
bols, chants, texts, appealing to the eye, the ear, the 
feelings, the imagination, the intellect, and the heart 
— by means of all these, the Church reminds me 
that everything that is in me: os, lingua, mens, sensus, 
vigor,™ all must be directed to God. 

All the means used by the Church to show me 
what are God’s rights and his claims to the worship 
of my filial homage and to the total ownership of my 
being develop in me the virtue of religion, and, by 
that very fact, the supernatural spirit. 

Everything in the Liturgy speaks to me of God, of 
His perfections, His mercies. Everything takes me 
back to God. Everything tells me how His Provi- 
dence is ever holding out to my soul means of sancti- 
fication in every trial, every assistance from on high, 
every warning, encouragement, promise, light, yes, 
even in His threats. 

Also, the Liturgy keeps me ceaselessly talking to 
God and expressing my religion under the most 
varied forms. 

If, with an earnest desire to profit by it, I submit 
to this liturgical formation, how is it possible that 
the virtue of religion should not strike deeper and 
deeper roots into my being, after all the manifold 
exercises that follow, each day, from my functions 
as a minister of the Church? I am bound to form a 
habit, a mental state, and that means a genuine 
inner life. 

* # 

09 The mouth, the tongue, the mind, the senses, and all 
nur strength (From the Hymn sung daily at Tierce). 


The Liturgy is a school of the presence of God; 
and teaches us to stay in the presence of our God as 
He was manifested to us in the Incarnation! Call it 
rather a school of the presence of Jesus, and of love! 

Love is fed by the knowledge of the attractions of 
the One loved, by the proofs He has given us of His 
love, but above all, says St. Thomas, by His presence. 

Now the Liturgy reproduces, explains, and applies 
these various manifestations of the life of Jesus 
among us. It keeps us permanently in a supernatural 
and divine atmosphere, by prolonging, so to speak, 
the life of Our Lord, and by displaying to us, in all 
His mysteries, how kind and lovable is His Heart. 

Dear Lord, it is You Yourself Who continue to 
teach us, through the Liturgy, Your great lesson, 
and to sliow us the great revelation of Your love. I 
see you clearer and clearer: not through the eyes 
of a historian, that is, behind the veil of centuries, 
nor in the way You are so often known by the theolo- 
gian, as the object of laborious speculations. You 
are right close to me. You are ever Emmanuel, God 
with us, with Your Church, and so, with me. You 
are someone that every member of Your Church 
lives wfith, and Whom the Liturgy shows me at all 
times in the forefront of my life, as the model and 
object of my love. 

By the cycle of Your Feasts, by the lessons chosen 
bom Your Gospel and from the writings of Your 
Apostles, and by the splendor with which she causes 
Your Sacraments to shine forth especially the Blessed 
Eucharist, the Church makes You live among us, 
and lets us hear the beating of Your Heart. 

To believe that Jesus lives in me; that He wants to 
work in me if only I do not stand in His way! When 
prayer has filled me with the conviction of this 
truth, what a mighty source of strength I possess, 


in my supernatural life! But when frequently 
throughout the course of the day, using all the varied 
and sensible means offered by the Liturgy, I nourish 
my mind and heart with the dogma of grace, of 
Christ praying and acting with every one of the 
members whose life He is supplying for their de- 
ficiencies, and, hence, for mine; then I am really 
maintaining myself under the permanent influence 
of the supernatural, I am getting to live in union 
with Jesus, and to find an established place in His 

Love of complacency, of benevolence, of prefer- 
ence, of hope — all these forms of love shine forth 
in the wonderful collects, in the psalms, the cere- 
monies, the prayers. And they penetrate my soul. 

How strong and generous the interior life becomes, 
with this method of contemplating Jesus as living 
and ever present! And when some act of detach- 
ment or of abnegation may be required to keep my 
life supernatural when some difficult task is to be 
performed, some pain or insult to be endured, how 
quickly the spiritual battle, the virtue, the trial will 
lose their painful and repugnant aspect of instead of 
looking at the bare Cross, I look at Y ou nailed there, 

0 my Savior; and if 1 hear You ask me, as You show 
me Your wounds, for this sacrifice as a proof of love. 

Then, too, the Liturgy gives me strong support in 
another way by repeatedly reminding me that my 
love is not acting in isolation. 1 am not alone in the 
fight against these natural impulses that are ever 
threatening to engulf me. The Church is alive to the 
fact of my incorporation in Christ and follows me 
like a mother, giving me a share in all the merits of 
the millions of souls with whom I am in communion, 
and who speak the same official language of love as 

1 do; and she renews my powers of endurance by 



assuring me that heaven and purgatory are here 
with me, for my encouragement and assistance. 

Nothing is so effective as the mindfulness of eter- 
nity in keeping the soul directed to God in all its 

Now everything in the Liturgy reminds me of my 
last end. The expressions vita aeterna, coelum, infer- 
num, mors, saeculum saeculi, and others like them 
are of frequent recurrence. 

Prayers and offices for the dead, funerals bring be- 
fore my mind death, judgment, rewards and unend- 
ing punishments, the value of time and the purifica- 
tions that have to be gone through, willy-nilly, 
either here below or in purgatory, if I am going to 
get in to heaven. 

The feasts of the saints speak to me of the glory 
of those who were before me here on earth, and 
show me the crown which is in store for me if I fol- 
low in their footsteps and conform to their example. 

By these lessons the Church is ceaselessly crying 
out to me: "Beloved soul, consider the eternal years, 
and you will remain faithful to your motto, 'God in 
all things, all the time, everywhere!’ ” 

O divine Liturgy: if I want to acknowledge all the 
benefits you bring us, I must enumerate all the vir- 
tues! Thanks to the chosen Scripture texts which you 
place before me at all times, thanks to the rites and 
symbols which express the divine Mysteries to me, 
my soul is constantly raised above this earth and di- 
rected now towards the theological virtues, now to- 
wards the fear of God, the horror for sin and for the 
spirit of this world, with detachment, compunction, 
confidence, or spiritual joy. 



b. It Is a Most Powerful Aid in Conforming My 
Interior Life to That of Jesus Christ 

O my adorable Master, there are three sentiments 
which hold sway in Your Sacred Heart: complete 
dependence upon Your Father, and therefore perfect 
humility; then secondly a burning and universal love 
for men; and finally the spirit of sacrifice. 


When You came into the world, You said, "Fa- 
ther, behold, I come to do Thy will .”' 10 You often 
remind us that Your whole inner life may be 
summed up as a continual desire to do always the 
things that please Your Father™ O Jesus, You are 
obedience itself, "obedient unto death, even to the 
death of the Cross .” 72 Even now, You obey Your 
priests. At the sound of their voice, You come back 

to the earth: ’"The Lord obeying the voice of a 

” 73 


What a school the Liturgy is, in which to learn to 
imitate Your subjection, if my heart will only be- 
come supple and responsive to the smallest rites with 
a desire of forming a spirit of dependence upon God, 
and of unflinchingly taming this " ego” of mine, so 
thirsty for liberty, and of bending my judgment and 
my will, so quick to refuse allegiance, Lord, to the 
fundamental spirit which You came to teach by Your 
example: the Worship of the Will of God! 

70 Ingrediens mundum dicit: Hostiam et oblationent no- 
luisti . . . Tunc dixi : Ecce venio . . . ut f actant, Deus, vo- 
luntatem tuam (Heb. x :5 -7). 

71 Ego quae placita sunt ex, fncio semper (Joan. viii:29). 
Meus cibus est ut faciam voluntatem ejus qui misit me 
(Joan. iv:34). Descend i de coelo non ut faciam voluntatem 
meam. sed voluntatem ejus qui misit me (Joan. vi:38). 

72 Factus obediens usque ad mortem , mortem autem cru- 
cis (Philipp. ii:8). 

73 Obediente Domino uoci hominis (Jos. x:14). 



Every time I thrust my own personality into the 
background in order that I may obey the Church as 
I would obey You Yourself, and act in her name, 
and unite myself with her, hence unite myself to 
You, I am receiving a priceless training that shapes 
my soul. This fidelity to the smallest prescriptions 
and rubrics will bear fruit in an immensely increased 
self-mastery when it comes to putting down my pride 
on more difficult occasions! 73 * 

What is more, since the Liturgy constantly re- 
minds me of the infallible truth that You are living 
within me, and of the necessity of Your grace if I 
am to draw fruit from even the simplest thought, it 
is at war with all presumption and with that self- 
satisfaction which, between them, would be enough 
to ravage every vestige of interior life. The Per 
Dominum Nostrum that comes at the end of almost 
every prayer in the Liturgy, would be enough to re- 
call to my mind, were I able to forget it, that by my- 
self I can do nothing, absolutely nothing, except sin 
or perform acts that have no merit. Everything con- 
vinces me of the necessity to run to You for help at 
all times. Everything keeps telling me that You 
demand this suppliant dependence, that my life may 
not wander off the track in pursuit of a lying mirage. 

Through her Liturgy, the Church insists with great 
solicitude on this question of supplication, in order 
to convince her children of its necessity. She makes 
this Liturgy a true school of prayer, and therefore of 
humility. By her formulas, by the Sacraments and 
Sacramentals, she teaches me that everything comes 
to me through Your Precious Blood, and that the 
great means of reaping Its fruit is to unite myself, by 

73 * Qui fidclis est in minimo . in mujori fidelis est (Luc. 
xvi:10). He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful 
also in that which is greater. 



humble prayer, to Your desire to apply them to us. 

Let me profit, then, O Jesus, by these continual 
lessons, in order to increase the vivid awareness of 
my own littleness and to convince myself that I am 
nothing but a tiny particle in the Host which is Y our 
Mystical Body, and that in the immense chorus of 
praise conducted by You, I am nothing but a thin 
and feeble voice. 

Let me, thanks to the Liturgy, see more and more 
clearly that humility can make that voice more and 
more pure and clear, and that particle whiter and 
ever whiter. 


Your Heart, Lord Jesus, embraced all men in Its 
mission of Redemption. 

At Your death, You cried out upon the world, "I 
thirst,” and You do still, upon our altars and in the 
Tabernacle and in the very depths of Your glory. 
In all our souls, yes, even that of the plain Christian, 
that cry must be answered by a similar thirst: the 
strong desire to spend ourselves for our brothers: the 
burning thirst for the salvation of all men, and for 
the diffusion of the Gospel; a mighty zeal for the en- 
couragement of priestly and religious vocations; and 
finally, tireless prayers that the faithful may come to 
comprehend the extent of their duties, and that souls 
consecrated to God may realize how necessary, for 
them., is the interior life. 

How much more powerful an effect these desires 
should have, then, upon Your priests, constantly re- 
minded, by their rites, that You have given them a 
special place in Your Mystical Body in order that 
they may incorporate as many souls as possible into 
You, and that they are co-redeemers, mediators, 
whose function it is to weep, "inter vestibulum et 



altare .” 7i for the sins of the world, and sanctify 
themselves, not only for their own sake, but in order 
to be able to sanctify others, to form, and instruct 
and guide souls and make Your life course through 
their veins. "And for them do I sanctify myself, that 
they also may be sanctified in truth.” 75 

Holy Church of the Redeemer, Mother of all my 
brethren, your children, how can I live your Liturgy 
without sharing the strong desire in the Heart of 
your Divine Spouse for the salvation of His creatures 
and for the deliverance of the souls that groan in 

Of course, I share in the fruits of my Mass, my 
Office. But it is your intent that the first share should 
go, before all else, to the whole group of souls which 
are in your care: in primus quae tibi offerimus pro 
Ecclesia sancta tua Catholica . 7e You take a thou- 
sand means to insure that my heart will expand with 
love and my interior life will grow like to that of 

O my beloved liturgical life, increase in me the 
flial love for Holy Church and for the common 
Father of all the faithful. Make me more devoted, 
more submissive to my superiors in the hierarchy, 
and more united to them in all their cares and de 
sires. Help me never to forget that Jesus lives in 
every person with whom I come in daily contact, and 
that He carries them all in His heart. Make me 
radiate, among them, a spirit of indulgence, of sup- 
port, of patience, and of service, that I may thus 
reflect the meekness of the sweet Savior. 

74 Joel ii:l 7. 

75 Ego sanctifico tneipsutn ut sint et ipst sanctificati 
(Joan. xvii:19). 

76 Which we offer Thee first of all for Thy Holy Cath- 
olic Church (Canon of the Mass). 



Keep me firmly rooted in the conviction that the 
only way I can get to heaven is by the Cross, and 
that my praises, adoration, sacrifices, and all my other 
acts have no value, for heaven, except through the 
Blood of Christ, arid it is in union with all the other 
Christians that I must gain heaven, since it is with all 
the elect that I am to enjoy it, and to continue, with 
them, through Christ, for all eternity, the chorus of 
praises in which I have part here on earth. 


Lord Jesus, You knew that mankind could only 
be saved by sacrifice, and You made Your whole life 
on earth a perpetual immolation. 

Identified with You, acting as Priest with You, 
when I celebrate Mass, O my Crucified God, I desire 
to be a victim with Y ou. Everything in Y ou revolves 
around Your Cross. Everything in me has to revolve 
around my Mass. It will be the center, the sun of 
my days, just as Your Sacrifice is the central act of 
the Liturgy. 

And the Liturgy will become, to me, a school of 
the spirit of sacrifice, because the altar and the Taber- 
nacle will ever be taking me back to Calvary. By 
making me share in the thoughts and aspirations of 
Your Church, the Liturgy will communicate Your 
own sentiments to me, O Jesus, and thus will the 
words of St. Paul be fulfilled in me: "Let this mind 
be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” ' along 
with those other words that were spoken to me at 
my ordination: Imitamini quod tractatis .‘ 8 

The Missal, Ritual, and Breviary constantly recall 
to me in many different ways, were it only by the 

77 Hoc sentite in vobis quod et in Christo Jesu (Philipp, 
ii :5). 

78 Imitate what you perform (Roman Pontifical.) . 



countless signs of the Cross, that sacrifice has be- 
come, since the fall, the law of the human race, and 
that it has no value except insofar as it is united 
with Your Sacrifice. Hence, I shall render unto You 
victim for victim, O my divine Redeemer. I will 
offer up to You a total immolation of my whole self, 
an immolation that shall MERGE with the Sacrifice 
once consummated by You on Golgotha and re- 
newed many times, every second by the Masses which 
are said in unending succession all around the world. 

The Liturgy will render this obligation of myself 
much easier and will enable me to make a greater 
contribution towards fdling up those things that are 
wanting of Your sufferings for Your Body, which is 
the Church™ 

I will thus bring my share and join it to that great 
Host made up of the sacrifices of all Christians . 8o 
And this Host will rise up to heaven to expiate the 
sins of the world and bring down upon the Church 

79 Adimpleo quae desunt passionum Christi pro corpore 
ejus, quod est Ecclcsia (Coloss. i:24). 

80 Tota ipsa redempta Civitas, hoc est congregatio socie- 
tasque sanctorum , universale Sacrifcium offertur Deo per 
Sacerdotem magnum, qui etiam obtulit in Passione pro no- 
bis, ut tanti capitis corpus cssemus . . . Cum itaque nos hor- 
tatus esset Apostolus Ut exhibeamus corpora nostra hostiam 
viventem . . . Hoc es Sacrificium Christianorum: multi 
unum corpus in Christo. Quod etiam Sacramento altaris, 
fidelibus noto , frequentat Ecclcsia, ubi et demonstretur quod 
in ea re, quam offert, ipsa offeratur (St. Augustine, City 
of God, Bk. ix, c. vi). 

“All the whole redeemed city, that is the congregation 
and society of the saints is offered to God as a universal 
Sacrifice by that High Priest, Who even offered it in His 
Passion, for us, that we might become the body of so noble 
a Head . . . Now therefore the Apostle, having exhorted 
us to give up our bodies as a living sacrifice. . . . This is 
the Christian Sacrifice: we are one Body with Christ, as 
the Church celebrates in the Sacrament of the Altar, so well 
known to the faithful, wherein it is shown to the Church 
that she herself is offered in the Victim which she offers.” 


militant and suffering the fruits of Your Redemp- 

In this way, I will lead a true liturgical life. For 
when I ”put You on,” O my crucified Jesus, and 
unite myself in a practical way with Your Sacrifice 
by carrying out Your counsel to deny myself, thus 
making of myself a holocaust; is not that, O my 
Savior, the end to which Your Church would lead me 
in filling me with Your thoughts by her prayers and 
holy ceremonies, and bringing into my heart that 
which in You dominated everything: the Spirit of 
Sacrifice ? 81 

Thus will I become one of those carefully chosen 
living stones, polished by tribulations, "by the blows 
of the life-giving chisel, by ceaseless, relentless work 
of the mason’s hammer .” 82 and destined to enter 
into the construction of the heavenly Jerusalem. 

81 Tunc demum sacerdoti hostia proderit si, seipsum hos- 
tiatn facicns, velit humiliter et efficaciter imitari quod agit 
(Petr. Blesens. Epist . cxxiii). 

Then alone will the Mass be of profit to the priest if, 
making of himself a host, he is willing to imitate in a most 
humble and practical manner the Sacrifice he performs. 

Qui Passionis Dominicae mysteria celebramus, debemus 
imitari quod agimus. Tunc ergo vere pro nobis Hostia erit 
Deo, cum nosmetipsos hostiam fecerimus (St. Gregory the 
Great, Dialogues , iv, c. 59). 

We who celebrate the mysteries of the Lord's Passion 
ought to imitate what we perform. And then will it truly 
be an offering to God that will make us pleasing to Him, 
if we make of ourselves victims also. 

82 Scalpri salubris ictibus 
Et tunsione plurima 
Fabri polita malleo. 

(Roman Brev. Hymn at Vespers, from the Common of 
the Dedication of a Church ). 


c. The Liturgical Life Makes Me Live the Life of the 
Saints and Blessed in Heaven 

Conversatio nostra in coelis est, Si said St. Paul. 
And where will I find a better way to carry out what 
he here expresses, than in the Liturgy? This Liturgy 
we have here on earth is simply an imitation of the 
celestial Liturgy which the Beloved Disciple, John, 
describes for us in his Apocalypse. When I sing or 
recite my Office, what else am I doing but carrying 
out the same function upon which the angels pride 
themselves, before the Throne of the Almighty? 

More than that, does not the doxology of every 
Psalm and hymn, the conclusion of every prayer cast 
me down prostrate in adoration before the Most Holy 

The countless feasts of the Saints make me live, as 
it were, intimate companionship with my brothers 
in Paradise who are my protectors and who pray for 
me. The Feasts of Our Blessed Lady remind me that 
I possess, in heaven above, a most loving and power- 
ful Mother who will never rest until she beholds me 
safe at her feet in the Kingdom of Her Son. Is it 
possible that all these feasts, that all the mysteries of 
my sweet Savior — Christmas, Easter, and especially 
the Ascension — should not make me HOMESICK 
FOR HEAVEN, which St. Gregory considered as a 
token of predestination? 

V. The Practice of the Liturgical Life 

Good Master, You have deigned to give me some 
understanding of what the liturgical life is. Am I 
going to try and offer the duties of my ministry as a 
pretext for avoiding the effort which You demand, 
in order that I may put all this into practice? Surely 
You would answer that it will take no more time 

83 Philipp, iii :20. 


to fulfill my liturgical functions in the way You de- 
sire me to, than it does already to get through them 
mechanically. You would tell me to consider the ex- 
ample of so many of Your servants, like Bl. Fr. Per- 
boyre, among others 84 who charged by You with 
unceasing and deeply absorbing occupations to a de- 
gree of the highest intensity, was nevertheless a most 
perfect example of a "liturgical soul.’’ 


Dear Savior, turn my desire for a liturgical life 
into a powerful SPIRIT OF FAITH with respects to 
everything that has to do with divine worship. 

Your angels and saints see You face to face. 
Nothing can distract their minds from the august 
functions which go to make up one of the elements 
of their incomparable bliss. But I, on the other hand, 
still a prey to all the weaknesses of human nature, 
simply cannot keep myself in Your presence, when I 
unite with the Church in addressing You, unless You 
develop in me the gift of Faith which I received at 

May I never come to regard my liturgical func- 
tions as a burdensome duty, to get over and done 
with as soon as possible or something to be put up 
with for the sake of the fee! Never, I hope, will I 
dare to speak of the Thrice Holy God or carry out 
His rites with careless familiarity and insulting negli- 
gence which I would be ashamed to manifest to His 
most humble servant. May I never give scandal in 
those things which were expressly designed to edify! 
And yet, can I forsee how far I will fall if I once 
cease to watch myself in this matter of the spirit of 

O my God, if I am already sliding down this peril- 

84 Cf. his “Life,” Bk. iii, ch. 8 and 9 (Paris, 1890). 


ous incline, have mercy, pull me back! Or rather, 
give me so lively a Faith that I will be gripped by 
the importance that all liturgical acts really possess 
in Your sight, and will rejoice to feel their sublime 
wonders flood my will with an ever-growing en- 

Can it be said that I have the slightest spirit of 
Faith if I take no trouble to know the RUBRICS 
and to observe them? This is a neglect for which not 
even the most lofty and appreciative intuitions about 
the Liturgy can compensate in Your sight, O my 
God! What difference does it make if I feel no 
natural attraction for this task? It is enough for me 
to know that my obedience is pleasing to You, and 
that it will gain me great merit. 

On my retreats, I must aever fail to examine my- 
self on this point, with regard to the Missal, Ritual, 
and Breviary. 

Your Church, O Jesus, has chiefly drawn upon the 
treasures of the PSALMS for her cult. If I have any 
liturgical spirit, my soul will be able to see You, in 
passages from the Psalter, especially in Your life of 
suffering. And I will be able to realize that the 
words, the deep thoughts which came forth from the 
secret depths of Your Heart and rose to up God dur- 
ing Your mortal life, are to be found written down 
in very many of the prophetic verses with which You 
inspired Your Psalmist. 

And there I will be able to discern gathered to- 
gether in a most marvelous synthesis, a forecast of 
the chief teachings of Your Gospel. 

Under these same veils, I will detect the voice of 
the Church as she carries on Your life of trials and 
expresses to God, in the midst of all her sufferings 
and triumphs, sentiments that echo those of her Di- 
vine Spouse; sentiments which may also be appro- 



priated in all temptations, reverses, combats, sorrows, 
discouragement, deceptions, as well as in victory and 
consolation, by every soul in whom Your life can be 

If I set aside part of my reading time for Holy 
Scripture exclusively, 1 shall develop my taste for the 
Liturgy and make it easier to keep my mind on its 
words. 85 

Reflective observation will show that every litur- 
gical composition has a central idea about which the 
various teachings are grouped. 

Oh what weapons, my soul, will you thus forge, 
against thy ever roving imagination, especially if 
you know how to learn from SYMBOLS. 

The Church makes use of symbols to speak to the 
senses a language which captivates them, making 
the truths that are represented sensible. Agnoscite 
quod agitis (realize what you are doing), she told 
me at my ordination. Ceremonies, sacred linen, holy 
objects, vestments, all speak with a meaningful 
voice, given them by the Church, my Mother. How 
am I ever going to enlighten the understandings and 
reach the hearts of the faithful that the Church 
wants to capture by her naive and grandiose speech 
if I myself do not possess the key to such instruction? 


"Before prayer, prepare thy soul.” 86 Just before 
Mass, and every time I take up the Breviary, I 

85 Plus lucratur qui orat et intelligit quant qui tantum 
lingua orat. Nam qui intelligit reficitur quantum ad intel- 
lectum et quantum ad affectum (St. Thomas, in. I Cor. xiv : 

14 ). 

One who prays with understanding profits more than 
one who prays with the tongue alone. For he who under- 
stands receives nourishment as to the intellect and the will. 

86 Ante orationcm praepara animam tuam (Eccli. xviii : 
23 ). 



should make a firm, calm act of recollection, in order 
to free myself from all that has no connection with 
God, and to fix my attention upon Him. The One 
I am about to talk to is God. 

But He is also my Father. Therefore, I shall unite 
that reverence and awe which even the Queen of 
Angels herself retains, when she speaks to her Divine 
Son, with the ingenuous candor which gives even 
an old man, when he talks to God’s infinite Majesty, 
the soul of a little child. 

This simple and childlike attitude before my Fa- 
ther will artlessly reflect my conviction that I am 
united to Jesus Christ, that no matter how un- 
worthy I may be, I represent the Church, and that I 
am certain beyond a doubt that the soldiers of the 
celestial army are standing at my side as I pray: “I 
will sing praise to Thee in the sight of the angels.” 87 

As for you, my soul: this is no longer the time to 
be reasoning, meditating. Become, once again, the 
soul of a child. When you arrived at the age of 
reason, you accepted, as the expression of absolute 
truth everything that mother told you. So must you 
also with the same simplicity and artlessness receive 
from your Mother the Church all that she is about to 
give you to nourish your faith. 

This renewal of youth is indispensable to the soul! 
The more I make myself the soul of a child the more 
I will profit by the riches of the Liturgy, and will 
allow myself to be possessed by the poetry that lives 
in it. And that will be the measure of my progress 
in the liturgical spirit. 

Then it will be easy for my soul to enter into ado- 
ration, and stay there all through whatever function 
(ceremony, Office, Mass, Sacraments, etc.,) engages 

87 In conspectu angelorutn psallam tibi (Ps. cxxxvii). 


me, whether as member of the Church or as her 
ambassador, as the minister of God. 

The way I enter into adoration will determine, to 
a great extent, not only the profit and merit of my 
liturgical act, but also the consolations which God 
makes contingent upon its perfect accomplishment 
and which will give me strength to carry on my apos- 
tolic labors. 

And so I am going to adore. I desire, by an act 
of my will, to spring up even unto union with the 
adorations of the Man-God, that I may offer His 
prayer together with mine to God. This must be a 
swift upward flight of the heart : not an effort of the 

I will and desire this with Your grace, Lord Jesus! 
And I will ask this grace for instance, in my Office, 
by saying with purpose and recollection my Deus in 
adjutorium, or, in, the same manner, the Introibo of 
my Mass. 

7 will it. It is this filial and loving will, strong 
and humble, united with an earnest desire for Your 
help, that You demand of me. 

If it should happen that my intellect opens up 
some fine expansive vista to my faith, or if my sensi- 
bilities contribute some holy emotion, well and good; 
my will shall take advantage of them to make adora- 
tion easier. But I will always remember the principle 
that in the last analysis union with God dwells in the 
summit of the soul, in the will, and even though 
darkness and aridity fall to its lot, the will, though 
dry and cold, will take her flight on the wings of 
pure faith. 




To do well my liturgical work is a gift of Your 
bounty, O my God! Omnipotens et mis eric on Deus, 
de cujus munere venit ut tibi a fidelibus tuis digne et 
laudabiliter serviatur , 88 O Lord, please grant me this 
gift. I want to remain in adoration all during my 
liturgical function. That sums up all the methods in 
one word. 

My will casts down my heart at the feet of the 
Majesty of God, and keeps it there. All its work is 
now contained in the three words, digne, attente, de- 
vote . . . from the prayer Aperi, and they most aptly 
express what must be the attitude of my body, of 
my mind, and of my heart. 

DIGNE. A respectful position and bearing, the 
precise pronunciation of the words, slowing down 
over the more important parts. Careful observance 
of the rubrics. My tone of voice, the way in which l 
make signs of the Cross, genuflections, etc.; my body 
itself: all will go to show not only that 1 know 
Whom I am addressing, and what I am saying, but 
also that my heart is in what I am doing. What an 
APOSTOLATE I can sometimes exercise! 89 

88 Almighty and most merciful God. Whose gift it is that 
Thy faithful should pay Thee fit and laudable service (Col- 
lect for the 12th Sun. after Pent.). 

89 Apostolate or Scandal. There are many souls who 
look at religion through a hazy intellectualism or ritualism, 
and to such persons, a whole sermon by a second-rate priest 
has far less meaning than the apostolate of a genuine priest 
whose great faith, piety, and compunction shine forth in his 
ministrations at a Baptism, Funeral, or, above all, at Mass. 
Words and rites are arrows that strike deep into such 
hearts. When the Liturgy is thus lived, they see in it the 
certitude of the mystery expressed. The invisible begins 
to exist for them, and they are prompted to invoke Jesus, 
Whom they hardly know at all, but with Whom they sense 
that the priest is in close communication. But only weaken- 
ing or total loss of their faith follows when the spectacle 


In the courts of earthly kings, a simple servant 
considers the least function to be something great, 
and unconsciously takes on a majestic and solemn air 
in performing it. Cannot I acquire some of that dis- 
tinctive bearing which will show itself by my state of 
mind and by the dignity of my bearing when I carry 
out my duties in my capacity as member of the 
guard of honor of the King of Kings and of the God 
of all Majesty? 

ATTENTE. My mind will be eager to go forag- 
ing through the sacred words and rites in order to 
get everything that will nourish my heart. 

Sometimes my attention will consider the literal 
sense of the texts, whether I follow every phase or 
whether, while going on with my recitation of the 

before them merely turns their stomach, and moves them to 
cry out: “Why, you can't tell me that priest believes in a 
God or fears Him ! Look at the way he says Mass, ad- 
ministers Baptism, recites his prayers, and performs his 
ceremonies!" What responsibilities! Who would dare to 
maintain that such scandals will not be visited with the 
strictest of judgment? 

How the faithful are influenced by the way a priest acts ; 
whether it be that he displays deeply reverential fear, or an 
insolent nonchalance in his sacred functions ! 

Once when studying in a university graduate school, into 
which no clerical influence entered at all, I chanced to ob- 
serve a priest reciting his Breviary, he being unaware that 
he was the object of my attention. His bearing, full of re- 
spect and religion, was a revelation to me, and produced 
in me an urgent need to pray from then on, and to pray 
in the way this priest was praying. The Church appeared 
to me, concretized, so to speak, in this worthy minister, in 
communion with his God. 

But a faithful Catholic soul recently admitted to me: 
“When I saw the way my parish priest rushed through his 
Mass at high speed, I was completely upset, and found it 
hard to believe that he had any faith. Soon I lost all power 
to pray, even to believe , and a kind of disgust, caused by 
the fear that I would have to continue to see this priest 
sav Mass, caused me, from then on, to avoid the parish 



prayers, I take time to meditate on some word that 
has struck my attention, until such time as I feel the 
need to seek the honey of devotion in some other 
flower: in either case, I am fulfilling the precept 
Mens concordet voci 90 

At other times, my intellect may occupy itself with 
the mystery of the day or the principal idea of the 
liturgical season. 

But the part played by the mind will remain in 
the background compared to the role of the will. 
The mind wfill serve only as the will’s source of sup- 
ply, helping it to remain in adoration or to return to 
that state. 

As soon as distractions arise it shall be my will to 
return to the act of adoration; but I shall make this 
movement of the will without irritation or harshness, 
without a sudden violent jerk, but peacefully (since 
everything that is done with Your aid, Lord Jesus, 
is peaceful and quiet), yet powerfully (since every 
genuine desire to co-operate with Your aid, Lord, is 
powerful and strong). 

DEVOTE. This is the most important point. 
Everything comes back to the need of making our 
Office and all our liturgical functions acts of piety, 
and, consequently,, acts that come from the heart. 

"Haste kills all devotion.” Such is the principle 
laid down by St. Francis de Sales in talking of the 
Breviary, and it applies a fortiori to the Mass. Hence. 
I shall make it a hard and fast rule to devote around 
half an hour to my MASS in order to ensure a de- 
vout recitation not only of the Canon but of all the 
other parts as well. I shall reject without pity all 
PRETEXTS for getting through this, the principal 
act of my day, in a hurry. If I have the habit of 
mutilating certain words or ceremonies, I shall apply 

00 Let mind and voice agree (Rule of St. Benedict). 


myself, and go over these faulty places very slowly 
and carefully, even exaggerating my exactitude for 
a while . 81 

With all due proportion, I shall also apply this 
resolution to all my other liturgical functions: ad- 
ministrations of the Sacraments, Benediction, Burials, 
and so on. 

As far as the Breviary is concerned, I shall care- 
fully decide in advance when I am to say my Office. 
When that time comes, I shall compel myself, cost 
what it may, to drop everything else. At any price, 
l want my recitation of the Office to be a real prayer 
from the heart. O my Divine Mediator! Fill my 
heart with detestation for all haste in those things 
where I stand in Your place, or act in the name of 
the Church! Fill me with the conviction that haste 
paralyzes that great Sacramental, the Liturgy, and 
makes impossible that spirit of prayer without which, 
no matter how zealous a priest I may appear to be 
on the outside, I would be lukewarm, or perhaps 
worse, in Your estimation. Burn into my inmost 
heart those words so full of terror: " Cursed be he 
that doth the work of God deceitfully .” 92 

Sometimes I will let my heart soar, and take in by 
a panoramic synthesis of Faith, the general meaning 
of the mystery which the liturgical Cycle calls to 
mind; and I will feed my soul with this broad view'. 

At other times, I will make my Office a long, 
lingering act of Faith or Hope, Desire or Regret, 
Oblation or Love. 

91 A certain author of the nineteenth century, as notorious 
for his impiety as he was famous for the realism of his 
descriptions, once found no better simile by which to give a 
caricature of a person speaking very volubly u nthout knoiv- 
ing what he was saying, than to describe that person as talk- 
ing “like a priest gabbling his Mass.” 

92 Maledictus qui facit opus Dei fraudulentur (Jer. xlviii : 
10 ). 


Then again, just to remain, in simplicity, LOOK- 
ING at God will be enough. By this I mean a lov- 
ing and continuous contemplation of a mystery, of a 
perfection of God, of one of Your titles, my Jesus, of 
Your Church, my own nothingness, my faults, my 
needs, or else my dignity as a Christian, as a priest, 
as a religious. Vastly different is this simple "look- 
ing” from an act of the intellect in the course of 
theological studies. This "look” will increase Faith, 
but will give even greater and more rapid growth to 
Love. It is a reflection, no doubt a pale one, but 
still a reflection of the beatific vision, this "looking” 
and it is the fulfillment of w'hat You promised even 
here below to pure and fervent souls: "Blessed are 
the clean of heart for they shall see God.” 93 

• • 

And thus every ceremony w'ill become a restful 
change because it will bring my soul a real breath- 
ing spell and relieve it from the striding press of oc- 

Holy Liturgy, what sweet fragrance you will bring 
into my soul by your various "functions.” Far from 
being a slavish burden these functions will become 
one of the greatest consolations of my life. 

How could it be otherwise when thanks to your 
constant reminders I am ever coming back to the 
fact of my dignity as a child and ambassador of the 
Church, as member and minister of Jesus Christ, 
and am ever being more and more closely united 
to Him Who is the "Joy of the elect.” 

By my union with Him I shall learn to get profit 
out of the crosses of this mortal life, and to sow the 
seeds of my eternal happiness and by my liturgical 

93 Beati mundo cordc, quoniam ipsi Deum videbunt (Matt, 
v :8) . 



life, which is far more effective than any apostolate, 
I will see that other souls have been drawn to follow 
after me in the ways of salvation and sanctity. 

4. Custody of the Heart Is the Keystone of the 
Interior Life: Hence It Is Essential in the 

Oh Jesus, it is my desire that my heart acquire 
a habitual solicitude to PRESERVE ITSELF from 
every stain and to BECOME MORE AND MORE 
UNITED to Your Heart in all my occupations con- 
versations, recreations, and so on. 

The negative, but essential element of this resolu- 
tion demands that I absolutely refuse to contract 
any stain in my motives and in the way my acts are 
carried out . 94 

Q: Hozv is purity of intention to be acquired? 

A : It is acquired by close attention to ourselves at the 
beginning and above all during the course of our actions. 

Q : IVhy is this attention necessary at the beginning of 
our actions? 

A : Because if these actions are pleasing, useful, or in 
harmony with our natural attractions, nature at once moves 
to perform them of its own accord, attracted by pleasure and 
self-interest alone. But we must pay great attention to our- 
selves, indeed we must have great command over ourselves, 
if we are to prevent the will from being rushed off its feet, 
so to speak, by the appeals of natural motives with their 
flattery, solicitations, and attractions. 

Q : Why do you add that this attention is above all neces- 
sary during the course of our actions? 

A : Because even when a person has the strength to 
repudiate, at the outset, every seductive appeal of sense and 
self-love, in order to follow in all things nothing but the 
direction of faith, in all purity of intention ; nevertheless 
if he forgets, later on, to keep a close watch on himself, the 
actual enjoyment of the pleasure that makes itself felt, or 
of the advantages that accrue during the course of certain 



The positive element drives my ambition on to the 
point of seeking to intensify the Faith, Hope, and 
Love with which the action was begun. 

This resolution is going to be the real barometer 
by which to measure the practical value of my morn- 
ing mental prayer and my liturgical life. For my 
interior life will be what my custody of the heart is. 
"With all watchfulness keep thy heart, because life 
issueth out from it” 95 

Mental prayer gives me back the verve with which 
I run on towards divine union. But it is custody of 
the heart which is going to enable the traveler to 
gain strength from the nourishment he took before 
his journey began, or takes along the way, so that he 
will always maintain the same lively pace with 
which he started out. 

This custody of the heart means nothing else but 
the HABITUAL, or at least frequent solicitude to 
preserve all our acts, as we perform them, from 
everything that might corrupt their MOTIVE or their 

This solicitude will be calm, peaceful, free of all 
strain, at once humble and strong, because its basis 
is filial recourse to God and trust in that recourse. 

Here my heart and my will do much more work 
than my mind, which must remain free to carry out 

actions keep piling up new impressions and appeals, and 
the heart yields little by little, so that nature, although mor- 
tified by the first refusals, comes to life again and regains 
its ascendancy. Pretty soon, self-love subtly and almost 
without our being aware of it, begins to insinuate its selfish 
motives, and substitutes them for the good motives with 
which our actions were taken up and begun. From this fact, 
it many times happens, as St. Paul says, that what began 
in the spirit ends up in the flesh, that is in low and worldly 
and selfish views. Fr. de Caussade, S.J. 

95 Omni custodia serva cor tuum, quia ex ipso vita pro - 
cedit (Prov. iv:23). 


my various obligations. Far from impeding my ac- 
tivity, custody of the heart will make it all the more 
perfect by bringing it into line with the Spirit of 
God, and adjusting it to the duties of my state. 

Now this exercise is something that I want to 
practice at every moment of the day. It will consist 
in a glance from the heart, upon the present action, 
and a moderate attentiveness to all the various parts 
of the action as I perform them. It amounts to carry- 
ing out, with all exactitude, the precept: Age quod 
agis . 9fi My soul, like an alert sentinel, will keep a 
vigilant watch over all the movements of my heart, 
over everything that goes on within me, all my im- 
pressions, intentions, passions, inclinations, and, in a 
word, over all my interior and exterior acts, all my 
thoughts, actions, and words. 

Obviously this custody of the heart demands a cer- 
tain amount of recollection, and it cannot be prac- 
ticed if my soul is dissipated. 

However, the frequent practice of this exercise 
will help me to acquire the habit that will make self- 
custody easy. 

Quo vadam et ad quid ? 97 What would Jesus do; 
how would He act in my place? What would He 
advise? What does He ask of me at this moment? 
Such are the questions that will come spontaneously 
to mv mind, hungry for interior life. 

When I feel myself drawn to Jesus through Mary, 
this custody of the heart will quickly become far 
more effective. My heart will soon feel, as it were, 
an incessant need for recourse to so good a Mother. 

And this is how we actualize the precept, "ABIDE 

96 Do what you are doing: — that is to say: apply your- 
self totally to the matter in hand. 

97 Where am T groing\ and for what? St. Ignatius of 
Loyola used frequently to ask himself this, and it is alluded 
to in the Spiritual Exercises. 


in Me and I in you.”™ which sums up all the other 
principles of the interior life. 

What You have declared, O Jesus, to be the fruit 
of the Eucharist, "he abideth in Me and I in him.” 
is what my soul is out to get, by means of custody 
of the heart, which will unite me with You. 

He abideth in Me. Yes, I shall see myself as truly 
in my home, in Your divine Heart; with every right 
to dispose of all Your wealth, by using the unlimited 
treasures of sanctifying Grace, and the inexhaustible 
mine of Your actual Graces. 

And l in him. But, thanks to my self-custody, You 
also, My Lord, will be truly at home in my heart. 
For, bending every effort to insure the continual exer- 
cise of Your sovereignty over the operation of all my 
faculties, not only will I be careful never to do any- 
thing without You, but my ambition will go so far 
as to desire to put into every one of my actions an 
ever increasing power of love. 

The habit of interior recollection, of spiritual com- 
bat, of a busy and well regulated life, and the in- 
calculable increase of my merits will all result from 
my self-custody. 

And thus, O Jesus, my indirect union with You 
through my works, that is my relations, according to 
Your will, with creatures, will become the sequel to 
my direct union with You through mental prayer, 
the liturgical life, and the Sacraments. In both these 
cases, this union will proceed from Faith and from 
Charity and will be formed under the influence of 
Grace. In the direct union, it is You Yourself, 0 My 
God , and You alone, that I have in view. In the in- 
direct union I apply myself to other things. But since 
it is in obedience to You that I do so these objects 
to which I have to give my attention become the 

08 Manete in Me et Ego in vobis (Joan. xv:4). 



means milled by You to achieve my union with You. 
1 leave You in order to find You. It is always You 
that I am seeking, and with just as much love, but 
now I seek You in Your Will. And this divine Will 
of Yours is the one and only beacon light upon 
which self-custody hxes my constant gaze, that I may 
direct all that I do to Your service. And so in either 
case I am able to say: "It is good for me to adhere to 
my God." 99 

It is dierefore a great MISTAKE to imagine that 
in order to become united to You I must put off my 
active work or else wait for it to get done. It is a 
mistake to imagine that certain kinds of work, be- 
cause of their very nature, or because of the time 
they involve, might so dominate my life or cramp my 
freedom that it would become impossible for me to 
be united to You. Not at all: You want me to be 
free. You do not want activities to imprison me be- 
neath their weight. You want me to be the master 
and not the slave of activity. And to that end You 
offer me Your grace, on condtion that I am faithful 
in the custody of my heart. 

And so, from the moment a supernatural practical 
sense tells me, through the many events and circum- 
stances and details arranged by Your Providence, 
that such and such activity is really bound up with 
Your will, I have the twofold duty of not trying to 
get out of it but also of not doing it merely for the 
pleasure it may give me. I must take on the job, 
and carry it out solely in order to do Your Will. 
Otherwise self-love might step in and corrupt its 
worth, and diminish my merit. 100 And if I find out 

99 Mihi adhacrere Deo bonutn est (Ps. lxxii:28). 

100 “Good actions,” says Fr. Desurmont. C.SS.R., “con- 
ceal within themselves delights, honors, glory and a cer- 
tain indefinable something which human nature finds ex- 



what it is You will, Dear Lord, and see how You 
want it done, Quod, et quomodo Deus vult, and then 
go ahead and do it simply because it is Your Will, 
Et quia Deus vult, then my union with You, far from 
diminishing, will only be intensified. 

I. The Need for Self-Custody 

My God, You are Holiness itself, and here on 
earth You only admit a soul to intimacy with You 
in the measure in which it applies itself to destroy or 
to avoid everything that can soil or stain it in any 

And yet I can find myself SWARMING LIKE 
ate imperfections, which deprive my soul of all the 
abounding graces which You held in store for me 
from all eternity. Consider a few of these sins — 
like the failure through spiritual laziness, to raise up 
my soul to God; an inordinate love of creatures; 
hasty temper and impatience; nursing a grudge; 
being capricious and changeable; getting soft, loving 
whatever is easy and gives pleasure; always talking 
without any cause about the faults of other people; 
dissipation, and a lot of curiosity about things that 
have nothing whatever to do with the glory of God; 

tremely tasty, and which it often likes far more than sinful 
pleasure. And the soul is not on its guard against this gnaw- 
ing worm, this refined egoism which kills actual grace. 

“The Lord, out of kindness toward us as well as out of 
jealousy for His glory, declares Himself to be, as far as He 
is concerned, indifferent to all particular goods. And He 
has decided that one thing alone shall be pleasing to Him, 
namely His own Will. In such a way that a mere nothing, 
performed in conformity with His Will, can merit Heaven, 
while wonders worked without it remain unrewarded. And 
consequently what we have to do is to aim, in all things, 
not only at what is simply good, but at the good that is 
willed by God, that is, His Will” ( Lc Retour Continuel a 
Dicu) . 


spreading scandal, gossiping, and making rash and 
stupid judgments of others; vain self-complacency; 
contempt of others, and constant criticism of their 
conduct; always looking for admiration and praise, 
and doing tilings with these in view; showing off 
anything that is to my credit; presumption, stubborn- 
ness, jealousy, lack of respect for superiors, mur- 
muring; no mortification in eating, drinking, and so 

Can my mental prayer and my liturgical life be 
any good if they do not bring me, bit by bit, to such 
a state of recollection that my soul will be wakeful 
against even faults of plain weakness ; if they do not 
help me to pick myself up again right away as soon 
as my will begins to give in; and even if they do not, 
in certain cases, lead me to impose certain sanctions 
upon myself? 

What a thought, Dear Lord! If I do not watch 
myself, I can paralyze Your activity in me! 

Masses, Communions, Confessions, my other pious 
exercises, the special protection of Divine Providence 
with my eternal salvation in view, the tender concern 
of my Guardian Angel, and, worse still, even your 
motherly watchfulness over me, Sweet Immaculate 
Mother, all this can be paralyzed, canceled out, by 
my fault! 

If I am lacking in good will to impose upon my- 
self that constraint which You were talking about, 
Dear Lord, when You said: "the violent bear it 
away,” 101 Satan will ever be trying to catch me by 
surprise and lead me astray, and weaken me, and he 
will even go so far as to pervert my whole conscience 
with his illusions. 

O my soul! Some of those falls which you think 
are mere weakness are perhaps already much more 

101 Violenti rapiunt illud (Matt. xi:12). 


than that in the eyes of God. If you do not practice 
custody of the heart and if you do not forge ahead 
in carrying out the program of keeping all the mo- 
tives of my actions purely for Jesus alone, how can 
you escape from that conclusion? 

If I do not resolve upon custody of the heart, not 
only will I pile up a long and fearsome debt for 
purgatory, but even though I may yet avoid mortal 
sin, I will be on the incline that inevitably leads to 
it. Have you thought of that, O my soul? 

SI. Self-Custody Begins with the Practice of the 
Presence of God 

O Holy Trinity, if I am in the state of Grace, and 
I hope I am, then Y ou are dwelling in my heart, with 
all Your glory and all Your infinite perfections, just 
as You dwell in Heaven; but here You are hidden 
by the veils of Faith. 

There is not a single moment when Your eyes are 
not upon me, seeing all that I do. 

Your Justice and Your Mercy are always at work 
in me. In response to my infidelities, You take away 
Your special graces, or else You no longer dispose 
events with maternal care in such a way that they 
turn out to my advantage: at other times, to bring 
me back to Yourself, You load me down with fresh 

If I really looked upon this indwelling in me as 
the most wonderful of all facts and the most worthy 
of my attention, would I be so often and for such 
long periods oblivious of it? 

Is it not this failure to attend to the fundamental 
fact of my existence that is the reason for such poor 
success up to the present in all my attempts to prac- 
tice self-custody? 



A constant succession of ejaculatory prayers all 
through the day ought to be keeping this loving in- 
dwelling of God ever in my conscious thoughts. Up 
until now, my soul, have you really taken the trouble 
to fill your life with these little landmarks as you 
go along; have you even remembered to make these 
aspirations ONCE IN AN HOUR? Have you drawn 
enough profit from your daily meditation and from 
your liturgical life to enter from time to time, even 
if it is only a few seconds, into the inner sanctuary 
of your heart, there to adore the infinite Beauty, the 
Immensity, the All-power, the Sanctity, the Life, and 
the Love, in a word, the Supreme and Perfect Good 
Who deigns to dwell there and Who is your Begin- 
ning and your End? 

How about Spiritual Communions? What kind of 
a part do they play in my daily life? And yet they 
are right at hand, not only to remind me of the in- 
dwelling of the Most Holy Trinity within me, but 
also to increase that indwelling by a new inpouring 
of the Precious Blood into my soul. 

Up to now, how much importance have I attached 
to these riches that I find all along my road? All I 
needed to do was bend down and pick up diamonds 
and place them in my diadem. What a far call it is 
from me to those souls who, in the thick of their 
work or their conversations return a thousand times 
a day to their Divine Guest! They have acquired this 
habit, and their hearts are fixed where their treas- 
ure is. 

III. Self-Custody Aided by Devotion to Our Lady 

O my Immaculate Mother, when, on Calvary, the 
words of Your Son made me also a child of yours, it 
was in order that you might then aid me to keep my 
heart united, through Jesus, to the Holy Trinity. 


I want my ever more frequent invocations to you, 
to aim above all at this custody of my heart, so that 
I may purify all its tendencies, intentions, affections, 
and desires. 

I desire no longer to close my ears to your sweet 
voice that urges me: "Stop that, my child! Get your 
heart hack on the right path again! Do not think 
that, in what you are now doing, you are seeking 
only God’s glory, and nothing else.” How often have 
you not interrupted my dissipation, my somewhat 
questionable occupations, with this motherly appeal! 
And how often, alas, have I drowned out the sound 
of your voice! 

Sweet Mother, from now on I am going to hear 
TRUTH, and my fidelity will correspond to it by 
firmly and decisively putting on the brakes. Maybe 
it will only be a momentary halt, like a lightning 
flash in the course of my activity, but it will be all I 
shall need to ask myself one of these questions: For 
whom am I doing this? How would Jesus be acting 
in my place? Now when I acquire the habit of al- 
ways putting to myself this question in the depths of 
my heart, I am practicing custody of the heart. And 
this is what is going to enable me even in the small- 
est details, to keep my faculties and all their impulses 
in an ever more perfect habit of dependence upon 
God living within me. 

IV. Learning Self-Custody 

It is a torment to me, to remain out of the pres- 
ence of God for long intervals during the course of 
my work. I am filled with sorrow by the realization 
that all during this time when I am pouring myself 
out in activities, numerous faults escape me, irrespec- 
tive of the state of my soul, whether I display a 



mixture of fervor and imperfections, or whether I am 
frankly tepid. And hence 1 want to start to remedy 
matters today by practicing custody of the heart. 

In the morning, when I am making my medita- 
tion, I shall determine very precisely and firmly upon 
a certain moment in my work when I shall attempt, 
even while carrying on busily the work willed by 
God, to live as perfect an interior life as I can, to 
practice self-custody, that is, to be in Your presence, 
dear Lord, and at the same time keep an eye on my- 
self, always having recourse to You, acting fust as if 
I had made the vow always to do what is most 

I shall begin by doing this for five minutes, or 
even less, morning and evening, 102 and shall concern 
myself much more with making it perfect than with 
making it long. I shall also try to make it better 
and better all the time, and strive to have the purity 
of intention, the custody of my heart and of all my 
faculties, and the generosity, that you would expect 
to find in a saint, in a word: to act in all things as 
Christ Himself would have acted in doing the same 
work, and to do all this in the midst of my work, 
EVEN, or rather ABOVE ALL if it is very AB- 

This will prove an apprenticeship for a practical 
interior life. It will be a protest against my habits of 

102 This is practically the same as what Bossuet called 
the “moment of loving solitude which we should at all 
costs set aside during the day.” 

It is also what St. Francis de Sales so strongly recom- 
mended under the name of spiritual retreats . “Devotion’s 
principal work lies in this exercise of the spiritual retreat 
and in ejaculatory prayers. Here is an exercise that can 
make up for the lack of all the other forms of prayer, but 
the lack of this one is practically irreparable by any other 
means. Without it, it is impossible to lead the active life 
otherwise than badly . . . and work will always be an obstacle 
to us” {Intro, to the Dev. Life , Pt. ii, ch. 3). 



dissipation and my wandering mind. I want Jesus. I 
want His Kingdom. And when the time for external 
work arrives I want His Kingdom to go on just the 
same in myself. I do not want my soul to go on be- 
ing a public hallway open to every wind, in which it 
becomes impossible to live united to Jesus, vigilant, 
suppliant, and generous. 

During this brief moment, I shall keep my eyes 
directed, without strain, upon all the motives of my 
soul’s acts, and I shall forgive no fault. My good 
will, too, will be frevently determined to let nothing 
slip through that might make my living less perfect 
during this interval, brief as it is! And then my 
heart also, will be resolved to have frequent recourse 
to Our Lord, to keep going in this WORKOUT IN 

This practice is going to be hearty, and happy, and 
done with great expansion of soul. Of course vigi- 
lance and mortification will be necessary if I am go- 
ing to keep in the presence of God and deny my 
faculties and senses everything that smacks of nature. 
But I am not going to be satisfied with this merely 
negative side. I shall try above all to put into this 
exercise that intensity of love which, by making me 
more careful in the practice of Age quod agis, first of 
all the purity of intention and then with an ever in- 
creasing ardor and impersonality and generosity, will 
give my works all their perfection and value. 

In the evening, at my general examination of con- 
science (or at the particular examen, if I make this 
exercise its subject), I shall make a rigorously close 
analysis of the w'ay these few minutes of strict and 
unreserved self-custody before Jesus turned out. 
Then I will impose a sanction, some little penance 
(cut out a few cigarettes or take a little less dessert, 
unnoticed by anyone else, or else pray a little w'hile 



with the arms out in the form of a cross, or give my- 
self a few smart blows on the fingers with a ruler or 
some hard object), if 1 observe that 1 have not been 
sufficiently vigilant, or fervent, or suppliant, or lov- 
ing during this try-out in self-custody, that is, in the 
union of interior and active life. 

What wonderful results can be obtained from this 
practice! What a school of self -custody! 

What new light it will throw on sins and imper- 
fections of whose existence I was not even aware! 

These blessed moments will come gradually to ex- 
ercise a VIRTUAL influence on the moments that 
come after. Nevertheless, I shall not prolong them 
until I have just about gone as far in them as I can, 
in holiness and perfection of execution, and intensity 
of love. 

I am going to aim at quality rather than extent. 
My thirst to take more than just a few minutes at 
this practice will grow stronger in proportion as I see 
more correctly what I am and what You expect of 
me, Dear Lord. And thus gradually getting familiar 
with this salutary exercise I shall contract a real need 
for it, and it will become a habit, and then You will 
make known to my soul, thus purified, the secrets of 
the life of union with You. 

V. Self-Custody: Under What Conditions? 

The whole trend of my life is almost all more or 
less imperfect. This CONVICTION, which Satan 
tries to keep out of my mind, is going to be the basis 
of mistrust of myself and of creatures. And this ele- 
ment, united to my desire to belong to Jesus will 
necessarily produce: 

Vigilance, loyal and exact, gentle, peaceful, confi- 
dent in grace, and based on the repression of dissipa- 
tion and of the excesses of natural enthusiasm. A 



frequent renewal of my resolution. Tireless new be- 
ginnings, ever full of confidence in the mercy of 
Christ for the soul that really puts up a fight to ac- 
quire self-cutsody. An ever increasing certitude that 
1 am not fighting alone but united to Jesus living in 
me, to Mary His Mother, to my guardian angel, and 
to the saints. A conviction that these powerful allies 
are helping me at every moment as long as I keep 
striving for self-custody: as long as I do not put my- 
self out of reach of their assistance. Finally, a cordial 
and frequent recourse to all these divine helps, that I 
may be able with their aid to do quod Deus vult and 
do it quomodo Deus vult and quia Deus vult. 103 

Oh! what a transformation will take place in my 
life, Dear Lord, if I keep my heart united to You! 

My mind may be completely absorbed in the busi- 
ness in hand. And yet there is something I have ob- 
served in souls that are extremely busy, and who yet 
never cease to live and breathe in You: and that is 
what I want to arrive at, in the course of even my 
most absorbing work. 

If I have well understood what self-custody means, 
far from diminishing the freedom of action required 
by my faculties if they are to carry out all the duties 
of my state, my soul, breathing in the atmosphere 
of love which is Yourself, Jesus, wdll increase that 
liberty and make my life serene, joyful, powerful, 
and full of fruit. 

Instead of being the slave of my pride, of my self- 
ishness or of my laziness; instead of groaning be- 
neath the yoke of my passions and feelings, I shall 
become more and more free. And with this in- 
crease in my liberty I shall be able, O my God, 
to give You more and more frequent homage of 

103 What God wants . . . the way God wants it . . . be- 
cause God wants it. 



dependence. Thus I shall be strengthened in true 
humility, the foundation without which the interior 
life would simply be an illusion. And so I shall 
develop in myself that basic spirit of submission: 
Suhmisso ad Deum , JG 4 which sums up the whole 
inner life of Our Savior. 

Participating in the flame of love which made You 
always so attentive and docile to Your Father’s good 
pleasure, Jesus, I shall merit a share, in heaven, of 
the glory which Your Humanity enjoys as a reward 
for its wonderful dependence of humility and love: 
"Becoming obedient ... for which God also hath 
exalted Him. . . .” 105 

5. The Apostle Must Have an Ardent Devotion to 

Mary Immaculate 

As a member of the Cistercian Order, so complete- 
ly consecrated to Mary, and as a child of that great 
saint who was, for half a century, the apostle of 
Europe, St. Bernard, how can we forget that the holy 
abbot of Clairvaux attributed to Mary all his prog- 
ress in union with Jesus, and all his success in the 

Everybody knows what tremendous effects were 
produced by the apostolate of this saint, who remains 
the most illustrious of the sons of St. Benedict: an 
apostolate that embraced nations and kings, Councils 
and even Popes. 

On all sides we hear the praises of the sanctity, the 
genius, the deep knowledge of Holy Scripture, and 
the penetrating unction of the writings of this the 
last of the Fathers of the Church. 

104 Humility consists chiefly in the submission of man 
to God (St. Thomas Aquinas). 

105 Factus oboedxens . . . propter quod et Deus exaltaznt 
ilium (Phil. ii:9). 



But one title above all others sums up all the 
admiration of the ages for this holy doctor: Cyt ba- 
rista Mariae, "the Harpist of Mary.” 

This "Bard of Mary” has never been surpassed by 
any of those who have proclaimed the glories of the 
Mother of God. St. Bernardine of Siena and St. 
Francis of Sales, as well as Bossuet, St. Alphonsus, 
St. Grignon de Monfort, and so on, all draw largely 
upon the treasures of St. Bernard when they want to 
speak of her, and find arguments to support that 
great truth which the holy Doctor so emphasized: 
"Everything comes to us through Mary.” 

"See, my brethren, with what sentiments of de- 
votion God has desired us to honor Mary, He Who 
has placed in her the fullness of all good. If there 
is in us any hope, any grace, any pledge of salvation, 
let us admit that all this overflows upon us from her 
who is flowing with delights. . . . Suppose you were 
to take away the sun, which enlightens the world: 
what would become of the day? Take away Mary, 
that star of the sea, of our huge, vast sea, what is left 
but deep obscurity, the shadow of death, pitchy 
blackness? Therefore it is from the depths of our 
hearts, from the very vitals of our being, and with all 
our mind and will that we must honor the Virgin 
Mary: for such is the will of Him Who willed us to 
have all through Mary.” 106 

Strong with the strength of this doctrine we will 
not hesitate to lay down as a principle that no matter 
what the apostle may do to ensure salvation and 
spiritual progress and the fruitfulness of his aposto- 
late, he runs the risk of finding that he has built on 
sand if his activity does not rest on a very special 
devotion to Our Lady. 

108 Sermon on the Nativity of Our Lady, called "de 
Aquaeductu” (St. Bernard). 



a. For His Personal Interior Life 

The apostle cannot claim to have a sufficient devo- 
tion to Our Lady if his confidence in her is not en- 
thusiastic, and if his homage to her is almost entirely 
external. Like her Son, intuetur cor, she only looks 
at our hearts, and judges us to be her true children 
only by the power with which our love corresponds 
to hers. 

She looks to find a heart that is firmly convinced 
of the glories and privileges and offices of her who is 
at the same time the Mother of God and the Mother 
of men: 

A heart that is convinced of this truth: that the 
fight against faults the acquisition of virtues, the 
Kingdom of Christ in souls, and consequently all 
guarantee of salvation and sancity, are in proportion 
to the degree of our devotion to Mary ; 107 

A heart that is gripped with the thought that 
everything is easier, more delightful, and progresses 
more rapidly in the interior life when we act in 
union with Mary . 108 

A heart full to overflowing of filial confidence, 
come what may, in her whose gentle tact, and wise 
anticipation of our needs, and whose tenderness and 
mercy and generosity we know by experience ; 109 

107 No one is saved except through thee, Mother of God. 
No one receives the gift of God except through thee, O full 
of grace! (St. Germain). 

Holiness increases in proportion to the devotion that one 
professes for Mary (Fr. Faber). 

108 With Mary, we make more progress in the love of 
Jesus in one month than we could in years of living less 
united to this good Mother (St. Grignon de Montfort). 

109 Filioli, haec mea maxima fiducia est, haec tota ratio 
spei meae. 

My little children, she it is who is the foundation of all 
my trust and the whole reason for all my hope (St. Bernard). 



A heart ever more and more on fire with love for 
her who is associated with all our joys, united with 
us in all our trials, and through whom all our affec- 
tions pass. 

All these sentiments give us a good picture of St. 
Bernard, who may be taken as the model for active 
workers. Who does not know the words that leaped 
forth from the soul of this holy abbot when, in his 
exposition of the Gospel ff Missus est,” for the benefit 
of his monks, he cries out: 

"O you who in the ebb and flow of this age are 
aware that you are tossed in the midst of storms and 
tempests rather than walking upon the earth, keep 
your eyes fixed on this star, so that you may not 
perish in the gale. If the winds of temptations are 
let loose, if you are striking on the rocks of tribula- 
tion, look to the star, call upon Mary. If you are 
flung about by the waves of pride, of ambition, of 
scandal, of jealousy, look on the star, call upon Mary. 
If anger or avarice or evil desires attack the frail 
bark of your soul lift up your eyes to Mary. If, 
crushed under the enormity of your sins, in con- 
fusion at the horrible wounds of your conscience, 
alarmed by the horror of the judgment, you begin to 
be drawn into the whirlpool of sadness and despair, 
think of Mary. In dangers, in anguish, in doubt, 
think of Mary, invoke Mary. Let Mary never be 
far from your lips, never far from your heart; and 
to obtain the support of her prayers, do not forget 
the example of her life. In following her you shall 
not go astray; by praying to her you shall not des- 
pair; in contemplating her you shall not go wrong. 
With her support you fall not; under her protection 
you fear not; under her guidance, you do not grow 
weary; if she is propitious to you, you will reach the 


Obliged to limit this work, and yet desirous of 
offering our confreres in the apostolate a sort of sum- 
mary of the advice St. Bernard gives to those who 
would like to become true children of Mary, we be- 
lieve there is no better course for us to take than to 
offer the suggestion that they read with attention the 
solid and valuable little book of Fr. Lhomeau, "The 
Spiritual Life as Taught by Bl. Grignon de Mont- 
fort.” 110 

Along with the words of St. Alphonsus and Fr. 
Desurmont’s commentaries, the w T ritings of Fr. Faber 
and of Fr. Giraud of La Salette, this book of Fr. 
Lhomeau gives an unusually complete exposition of 
the teaching of St. Bernard, whom it quotes at every 
turn. It has that strong foundation of dogma, that 
unction and practical character, and everything else 
that goes to achieve the result which the abbot of 
Clairvaux was always striving to obtain: namely to 
form the hearts of his children after the image of 
his own and give them what was the outstanding 
characteristic of all the great Cistercian writers: the 
need for habitual recourse to Mary and to lead a life 
of union with her. 

Let us bring this to a close with the consoling 
words which the great Cistercian, St. Gertrude, 
whom Dom Gueranger calls Gertrude the Great, 
heard from the lips of the Most Blessed Virgin: 

"They ought not to call my sweetest Jesus my only 
Son, but rather my first-born Son. I conceived Him 
first in my womb, but after Him, or rather, through 
Him, I conceived every one of you to be His brothers 
and to be my children, adopting you in the womb of 

110 I.a Vic Sfiiritucllc a VBcolc dn Bienheurcux Grignon 
dc Montfort, IJbrairie Gudin. Fr. Lhomeau was Superior 
General of the congregation which St. G. de Montfort 



my maternal charity.” Everything in the writings of 
this saint, the patroness of the Trappistine nuns, re- 
flects the spirit of her Holy Father St. Bernard with 
regard to the life of union with Mary. 

b. For an Effective Apostolate 

Whether it be the task of the active worker to 
rescue souls from sin or to make virtues put forth 
flowers in their souls, his first objective must always 
be, as was St. Paul’s, to bring forth Our Lord in them. 
Now Bossuet says that God, having once willed to 
give us Jesus through the Most Blessed Virgin, there 
is no further change in that order. It was she who 
brought forth the Head, and so it is she too who is 
to bring forth the members. 

To isolate Mary from the apostolate would be to 
misconstrue one of the most vital parts of the divine 
Plan. "All the elect,” says St. Augustine, "are, in this 
world, hidden in the womb of the Most Blessed 
Virgin, where they are cherished and nourished and 
fostered and reared by this good Mother until such 
time as she brings them forth to glory after their 

And St. Bernardine of Siena justly concludes that, 
since the Incarnation, Mary has acquired a sort of 
jurisdiction over every temporal mission of the Holy 
Ghost, in such a way that no creature receives any 
graces but through her hands. 

But the man with true devotion to Mary becomes 
all-powerful over the Heart of his Mother. And so, 
what apostle can doubt the efficacy of his Apostolate 
when, by his devotions, he can control the all-power- 
ful mediation of Mary in the distribution of the 
merits of the Precious Blood? 

Hence we observe that all great converters of 
souls are filled with an unusually powerful devotion 



for the Blessed Virgin. Are they out to free a soul 
from sin? What persuasive warmth is theirs, identi- 
fied as diey are by their horror for evil and their love 
of purity, with her who has applied to herself the 
name of the Immaculate Conception! 

It was by the voice of Mary that the Precursor 
recognized the presence of Jesus, and leaped in the 
womb of his mother. What persuasive accents will 
Mary give to her true children, that they may open 
to Jesus hearts hitherto locked! 

What words come to the minds of those who are 
intimately united to the Mother of Mercies when 
they want to prevent souls that have long abused 
grace, from falling into despair! 

Some unfortunate man does not know Mary. The 
assurance with which the apostle shows her to be a 
true Mother and Refuge of sinners will open out 
new horizons to such a one! 

The Holy Cure of Ars sometimes ran across sin- 
ners, blinded by delusions, who relied on some exter- 
nal practice of devotion to the Blessed Virgin to quiet 
their consciences, and let them sin with greater free- 
dom, without fear of the everlasting flames of hell. 
In such cases, his words were of tremendous effect, 
both in bringing the guilty one to realize the mon- 
strosity of this presumption, so insulting to the 
Mother of Mercy, and to make him use that act of 
devotion to implore the grace to get free from the 
crushings coils of the infernal snake. 

But in a similar situation an apostle without much 
devotion to Mary will only succeed, by his wounding, 
frigid words, in making the poor drowning wretch 
let go of the last straw that might have turned into 
a force strong enough to keep him afloat until he 
reached safety. 

When Mary is living in the heart of her apostle, 


he will be guaranteed the use of the persuasive elo- 
quence of Our Blessed Mother herself, speaking in 
him, and moving souls with whom all else has failed. 
It is apparent that Our Lord, in a most beautiful 
delicacy of feeling, has left to the mediation of His 
Mother the most difficult conquests of the apostolate 
desiring that they should be accorded to no one but 
those who live in intimate union with her. "Through 
thee He has reduced our enemies to nought”: Per te 
ad nihilum redegit inimicos nostros. 

Never will the true son of Mary run out of argu- 
ments, of means or even of expedients when it be- 
comes necessary, in almost hopeless cases, to 
strengthen the helpless and give consolation to those 
who cannot be consoled. 

The Decree that added the invocation Mater Boni 
Consilii (Mother of Good Counsel) to Our Lady’s 
Litany, goes back to the titles of "Treasuress of 
Heavenly Graces,” and "Universal Consoler” (Coe- 
lestium gratiarum Tbesauraria, Consolatrix univer- 
salis), which are Mary’s due. "Mother of Good 
Counsel,” she only gives to those who are truly devo- 
ted to her, as she did at Cana, the secret of obtaining 
from God the wine of strength and of joy to distri- 
bute to men. 

But it is above all when the time comes to speak 
to souls of the love of God that this Ravisher of 
Hearts, Raptrix Cordium, as St. Bernard called her, 
the Spouse of Substantial Love, places upon the lips 
of her intimates the words of fire that enkindle love 
of Christ, and bring into being, through that love 
every other virtue. 

We apostles are bound to have a passionate love 
for her whom Pius IX calls Virgo Sacerdos, the 
Priestly Virgin, and whose dignity, in every respect, 
outstrips that of any priest or pontiff. And this love 


gives us the right never to give up any work as fruit- 
less if we have once begun it with Mary, and are 
ready to keep on going, in it, with her. For Mary, 
as a matter of fact, is at the base and at the final 
peak of perfection of all things that have to do with 
the Kingdom of God through her Son. 

But let us be careful never to delude ourselves that 
we are working with her if all we do is to erect altars 
and have a few hymns sung in her honor. What she 
is looking for, from us, is a devotion that will allow 
us to affirm, in all sincerity, that ye live habitually 
united to her, that we have recourse to her counsel, 
that our affections pass through her Heart and that 
our petitions are frequently made through her. But 
the thing that Mary most of all expects of our devo- 
tion is the imitation of all the virtues that we admire 
in her and the unreserved abandonment of ourselves 
into her hands that she may clothe us with her 
Divine Son. 

On this condition of habitual recourse to Mary, we 
will imitate that general of the army of the people 
of God, who, before marching against the enemy 
told Deborah: "If thou wilt come with me, I will 
go; if thou wilt not come with me, I will not go.” 
Not only will she be concerned in the principal de- 
cisions of our lives, but also with every detail of their 
execution, even the most unforeseen. 

United with her whose invocation Our Lady of 
the Sacred Heart sums up all her titles, we will never 
run the risk of ruining our works by allowing them 
to obstruct our interior life, to become a danger to 
our souls, and serve more for our own glory than for 
that of our God. On the contrary, we w r ill go 
through our works to the interior life, and hence 
to an ever more and more intimate union with her 
who will guarantee us the possession of her Son 
for all eternity. 




So now we lay down this little book before the 
throne of Mary Immaculate. 

There is an old sixth century Byzantine painting 
of the Most Blessed Virgin that gives a perfect 
subject of meditation; the Heart of Mary as the 
consummate ideal of the apostolate. 

The figure of Our Blessed Lady is shown carrying 
in Her Bosom the Incarnate Word surrounded by a 
circle of light. Like the Eternal Father she ever 
keeps within herself the Word she has given to the 
world. As Rohault de Fleury said: "The Savior 
shines in the midst of her breast like the Eucharist 
with all the veils torn away.” Jesus lives in her. He 
is her Heart, her life-breath, her center, and her life: 
this is an image of the interior life. 

But the Divine Child is there carrying out the 
work of His apostolate. His attitude, the scroll of 
His Gospel which He holds in His left hand, the 
gesture of His right hand, His expression, everything 
shows clearly that He is teaching. And the Blessed 
Virgin is united to His word. The expression on her 
face seems to tell us that she too would like to say 
something. Her wide-open eyes are looking for souls 
to whom she may communicate her Son: and that 
represents the active life of preaching and instruc- 

Her hands oustretched like those of the "orantes.” 
or praying women depicted on the walls of the Cata- 
combs, or of the Priest offering the Holy Victim, 
tell us that it is above all by prayer and union to the 
Sacrifice of Christ that our interior life will have 
depth and our apostolate fecundity. 


She lives in Jesus, through Jesus, by His life, His 
love, and by union with His Sacrifice; and Jesus 
speaks in her and through her. Jesus is her life, and 
she is the Word -carrier, she amplifies His voice, she 
serves as His monstrance. 

In the same way the soul that is dedicated to the 
greatest and most perfect of all works, the apostolate, 
must live in God in Older to be able to talk about 
Him meaningfully and with effect; and, let us repeat 
it once again, the active life can and must only be, 
in any soul, the overflow of the interior life. 





Mental prayer is a furnace, in which the watch- 
fires of vigilance are constantly rekindled. 

Fidelity to mental prayer gives life to all our other 
pious exercises. By it, the soul will gradually acquire 
vigilance and a spirit of prayer, that is, a habit of 
ever more frequent recourse to God. 

Union with God in mental prayer will lead to in- 
timate union with Him, even in the midst of our 
most absorbing occupations. 

The soul, thus living in union with God, by 
custody of the heart, will draw down into itself, more 
and more, the gifts of the Holy Ghost, the infused 
virtues, and perhaps God will call it to a higher 
degree of prayer. 

Dom Vital Lehodey’s splendid "Ways of Mental 
Prayer” (Paris, Lecoffre. Eng. Transl. Dublin, M. 
H. Gill ) presents a clear and forceful summary of all 
the essentials of the ascent of the soul, through the 
various degrees of prayer, and gives rules by which 
we can ascertain whether a higher type of prayer is 
really a gift of God or the product of illusion. 

Before speaking of affective prayer, the first de- 
gree of the comparatively advanced prayer to which 
God ordinarily only calls souls who have attained 
custody of the heart by means of meditation, Fr. 
Rigoleuc points out in his fine book of "Spiritual 
Works” (Avignon, 1843, p. 17ff.) ten ways of con- 
versing with God when, after a sincere attempt, one 
finds it morally impossible to make a set meditation 
upon a subject prepared the evening before. 


We here summarize the suggestions of this holy 

FIRST WAY. Take some spiritual book (New 
Testament , Following of Christ), read a few lines, 
pausing long in between — meditate a little on what 
you have read, trying to get the full meaning and 
to impress it on your mind. — Draw some holy 
affection, love, contrition, etc., from the reading. 

Avoid reading or meditating too much. — Every 
time you pause, remain as long as your mind finds it 
pleasant or useful to do so. 

SECOND WAY. Take some text of Holy Scrip- 
ture, or some vocal prayer, like the Pater, Ave, or 
Credo, and say it over, stopping at each word, draw- 
ing our various holy sentiments, upon which you may 
dwell as long as you like. 

At the end, ask God for some grace or virtue, 
depending on what has been the subject of your 

Do not stop on any one word if it wearies or tires 
you. When you find no more matter for thought or 
affections, leave it and pass on quietly to the next. 

But when you feel yourself moved by some good 
sentiment, remain there as long as it lasts, without 
going to the trouble of passing on to something else. 
— There is no necessity to be always making new 
acts; it is often quite enough to remain in the pres- 
ence of God silently turning over in your mind the 
words you have already meditated upon, or savoring 
the affections they have aroused in your heart. 

THIRD WAY. When the prepared subject-mat- 
ter does not give you enough scope, or room for free 
action, make acts of faith, adoration, thanksgiving, 
hone, love, and so on, letting them range as wide 
and free as you please, pausing at each one to let it 
sink in. 


FOURTH WAY. When meditation is impos- 
sible, and you are too helpless and dried-up to pro- 
duce a single affection, tell Our Lord that it is your 
intention to make an act, for example, of contrition, 
every time you draw breath, or pass a bead of the 
rosary between your fingers, or say, vocally, some 
short prayer. 

Renew this assurance of your intention, from time 
to time, and then, if God suggests some other good 
thought, receive it with humility, and dwell upon it. 

FIFTH WAY. In time of trial or dryness, if you 
are completely barren and powerless to make any 
acts or to have any thoughts, abandon yourself gen- 
erously to suffering, without anxiety, and without 
making any effort to avoid it, making no other acts 
except this self-abandonment into the hands of God 
to suffer this trial and all it may please Him to send. 

Or else you may unite your prayer with Our Lord’s 
Agony in the garden and His desolation upon the 
Cross. — See yourself attached to the Cross v/ith the 
Savior and stir yourself up to follow His example, 
and remain there suffering without flinching, until 

SIXTH WAY. A survey of your own conscience. 
— Admit your defects, passions, weaknesses, infirmi- 
ties, helplessness, misery, nothingness. — Adore 
God’s judgments with regard to the state in which 
you find yourself. — Submit to His holy will. — 
Bless Him both for His punishments and for the 
favors of His mercy. — Humble yourself before His 
sovereign Majesty. — Sincerely confess your sins and 
infidelities to Him and ask Him to forgive you. — 
Take back all your false judgments and errors. — 
Detest all the wrong you have done, and resolve 
to correct yourself in future. 


This kind of prayer is very free and unhampered, 
and admits of all kinds of affections. It can be 
practiced at all times, especially in some unexpected 
trial, to submit to the punishments of God’s justice, 
or as a means of regaining recollection after a lot of 
activity and distracting affairs. 

SEVENTH WAY. Conjure up a vivid picture 
of the Last Things. Visualize yourself in agony, be- 
tween time and eternity — between your past life 
and the judgment of God. — What would you wish 
to have done? How would you want to have lived? 
— Think of the pain you will feel then. — Call to 
mind your sins, your negligence, your abuse of 
grace. — How would you like to have acted in this 
or that situation? — Make up your mind to adopt 
a real, practical means of remedying those defects 
which give you reason for anxiety. 

Visualize yourself dead, buried, rotting, forgotten 
by all. See yourself before the Judgment-seat of 
Christ: in purgatory — in hell. 

The more vivid the picture, the better will be your 

We all need this mystical death, to get the flesh 
off of our soul, and to rise again, that is, to get free 
from corruption and sin. We need to go through 
this purgatory, in order to arive at the enjoyment of 
God in this life. 

EIGHTH WAY. Apply your mind to Jesus in 
the Most Blessed Sacrament. Address yourself to 
Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, with all the 
respect that His Real Presence demands, unite your- 
self to Him and to all His operations in the 
Eucharist, where He is ceaselessly adoring, praising, 
and loving His Father, in the name of all men, and 
in the condition of a victim. 


Realize His recollection, His hidden life, His utter 
privation of everything, obedience, humility, and so 
on. — Stir yourself up to imitate them, and resolve 
to do so according as the occasions arise. 

Offer up Jesus to the Father, as the only Victim 
worthy of Him, and by Whom we can offer homage 
to Him, thank Him for His gifts, satisfy His justice, 
and oblige His mercy to help us. 

Offer yourself to sacrifice your being, your life, 
your work. Offer up to Him some act of virtue you 
propose to perform, some mortification upon which 
you have resolved, with a view to self-conquest, and 
offer this for the same ends for which Our Lord im- 
molates Himself in the Holy Sacraments. — Make 
this offering with an ardent desire to add as much as 
possible to the glory He gives to His Father in this 
august mystery. 

End with a spiritual Communion. 

This is an excellent form of prayer, especially for 
your visit to the Blessed Sacrament. Get to know it 
well, because our happiness in this life depends on 
our union with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. 

NINTH WAY. This prayer is to be made in the 
Name of Jesus Christ. It will arouse our confidence 
in God, and help us to enter into the spirit and the 
sentiments of Our Lord. 

Its foundation is the fact that we are united to the 
Son of God. and are His brothers, members of His 
Mystical Body; that He has made over to us all His 
merits, and left us the legacy of all the rewards owed 
Him by His Father for His labors and death. And 
this is what makes us capable of honoring God with 
a worship worthy of Him, and gives us the right to 
treat with God, and, as it were, to exact His graces of 
Him as though by justice. — As creatures, we have 
not this right, still less as sinners, for there is an 


infinite disproportion between God and creatures, 
and infinite opposition between God and sinners. 
But because we are united to the Incarnate Word, 
and are His brothers, and His members, we are en- 
abled to appear before God with confidence, and 
speak familiarly with Him and oblige Him to give 
us a favorable hearing, to grant our requests, and 
to grant us His graces, because of the alliance and 
union between us and His Son. 

Hence, we are to appear before God either to 
adore, to praise, or to love Him, by Jesus Christ 
working in us as the Head in His members, lifting 
us up, by His spirit, to an entirely divine state, or 
else to ask some favor in virtue of the merits of His 
Son. And for that purpose we should remind Him 
of all that His well beloved Son has done for Him, 
His life and death, and His sufferings, the reward 
for which belongs to us because of the deed of gift 
by which he has made it over to us. 

And this is the spirit in which we should recite 
the Divine Office. 

TENTH WAY. Simple attention to the pres- 
ence of God, and meditation. 

Before starting out to meditate on the prepared 
topic, put yourself in the presence of God without 
making any other distinct thought, or stirring up in 
yourself any other sentiment except the respect and 
love for God which His presence inspires. — Be con- 
tent to remain thus before God, in silence, in simple 
repose of the spirit as long as it satisfies you. After 
that, go on with your meditation in the usual way. 

It is a good thing to begin all your prayer in this 
way, and worth while to return to it after every 
point. — Relax in this simple awareness of God’s 
presence. — It is a way to gain real interior re- 
collection. — You will develop the habit of center- 


ing your mind upon God and thus gradually pave 
the way for contemplation. — But do not remain 
this way out of pure laziness or just to avoid the 
trouble of making a meditation. 

If you have enjoyed this hook , consider making your 
next selection from among the following . . . 

The Guardian Angels 3.00 

33 Doctors of the Church. Fr. Rengers 33.00 

Angels and Devils. Joan Carroll Cruz 16.50 

Eucharistic Miracles. Joan Carroll Cruz 16.50 

The Incorruptibles. Joan Carroll Cruz 16.50 

Padre Pio — The Stigmatist. Fr. Charles Carty 16.50 

Ven. Francisco Marto of Fatima. Cirrincione, comp 2.50 

The Facts About Luther. Msgr. P. O' Hare 18.50 

Little Catechism of the Cure of Ars. St. John Vianney 8.00 

The Cure of Ars — Patron St. of Parish Priests. O'Brien 7.50 

The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven 9.00 

Pope St. Pius X. F. A. Forbes 1 1.00 

St. Alphonsus Liguori. Frs. Miller & Aubin 18.00 

Confession of a Roman Catholic. Paul Whitcomb 2.50 

The Catholic Church Has the Answer. Paul Whitcomb 2.50 

The Sinner’s Guide. Ven. Louis of Granada 15.00 

True Devotion to Mary. St. Louis De Montfort 9.00 

Life of St. Anthony Mary Claret. Fanchon Royer 16.50 

Autobiography of St. Anthony Mary Claret 13.00 

I Wait for You. Sr. Josefa Menendez 1.50 

Words of Love. Menendez , Betrone, Mary' of the Trinity 8.00 

Little Lives of the Great Saints. John O' Kane Murray 20.00 

Prayer — The Key to Salvation. Fr. Michael Muller 9.00 

The Victories of the Martyrs. St. Alphonsus Liguori 13.50 

Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent. Schroeder 16.50 

Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori for Every Sunday 18.50 

A Catechism of Modernism. Fr. J. B. Lemius 7.50 

Alexandria — The Agony and the Glory. Johnston 7.00 

Life of Blessed Margaret of Castello. Fr. Bonniwell 9.00 

The Ways of Mental Prayer. Dom Vitalis Lehodey 16.50 

The Story of the Church. Johnson , Hannan, Dominica 22.50 

Hell Quizzes. Radio Replies Press 2.50 

Purgatory Quizzes. Radio Replies Press 2.50 

Virgin and Statue Worship Quizzes. Radio Replies Press 2.50 

Moments Divine before/Bl. Sacr. Reuter 10.00 

Meditation Prayer on Mary Immaculate. Padre Pio 2.50 

Little Book of the Work of Infinite Love, de la Touche 3.50 

Textual Concordance of/Holy Scriptures. Williams. P.B 35.00 

Douay-Rheims Bible. Paperbound 35.00 

The Way of Divine Love, (pocket, unabr.). Menendez 12.50 

Mystical City of God — Abridged. Ven. Mary of Agreda 21.00 

Prices subject to change. 

Stories of Padre Pio. Tangari 9.00 

Miraculous Images of Our Lady. Joan Carroll Cruz 21.50 

Miraculous Images of Our Lord. Cruz 16.50 

Brief Catechism for Adults. Fr. Cogan 12.50 

Raised from the Dead. Fr Hebert 18.50 

Autobiography of St. Margaret Mary 7.50 

Thoughts and Sayings of St. Margaret Mary 6.00 

The Voice of the Saints. Comp, by Francis Johnston 8.00 

The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation. St. Alphonsus 9.00 

The Rosary and the Crisis of Faith. Cirrincione/Nelson 2.00 

Sin and Its Consequences. Cardinal Manning 9.00 

St. Francis of Paola. Si mi <£ Segreti 9.00 

Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena. Transl. Thorold 12.50 

Catholic Answer to Jehovah’s Witnesses. DAngelo 13.50 

Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart. (100 cards) 5.00 

Life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. Fr. Meschler 13.00 

The Love of Mary. D. Roberto 9.00 

Begone Satan. Fr. Vogl 4.00 

The Prophets and Our Times. Fr. R. G. Culleton 15.00 

St. Therese, The Little Flower. John Beevers 7.50 

Mary, The Second Eve. Cardinal Newman 4.00 

Devotion to Infant Jesus of Prague. Booklet 1.50 

The Wonder of Guadalupe. Francis Johnston 9.00 

Apologetics. Msgr. Paul Glenn 12.50 

Baltimore Catechism No. 1 5.00 

Baltimore Catechism No. 2 7.00 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3 1 1.00 

An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism. Kinkead 18.00 

Bible History. Schuster 16.50 

Blessed Eucharist. Fr. Mueller 10.00 

Catholic Catechism. Fr Faerber 9.00 

The Devil. Fr. Delaporte 8.50 

Dogmatic Theology for the Laity. Fr. P return 21.50 

Evidence of Satan in the Modern World. Cristiani 14.00 

Fifteen Promises of Mary. ( 1 00 cards) 5.00 

Life of Anne Catherine Emmerich. 2 vols. Schmoeger 48.00 

Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Emmerich 18.00 

Prayer to St. Michael. (100 leaflets) 5.00 

Prayerbook of Favorite Litanies. Fr. Hebert 12.50 

Preparation for Death. (Abridged). St. Alphonsus 12.00 

Purgatory Explained. Schouppe 16.50 

Purgatory Explained, (pocket, unabr.). Schouppe 12.00 

Spiritual Conferences. Tauler 15.00 

Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence. Bl. Claude 7.00 

Prices subject to change. 

Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco. Bosco 15.00 

Blessed Miguel Pro. Ball 7.50 

Soul Sanctified. Anonymous 12.00 

Wife, Mother and Mystic. Bessieres 10.00 

The Agony of Jesus. Padre Pio 3.00 

Catholic Home Schooling. Mary Kay Clark 21.00 

The Cath. Religion — Illus. & Expl. Msgr. Burbach 12.50 

Wonders of the Holy Name. Fr. O'Sullivan 2.50 

How Christ Said the First Mass. Fr. Meagher 21.00 

Too Busy for God? Think Again! D'Angelo 7.00 

St. Bernadette Soubirous. Trochu 21.00 

Pope Pius VII. Anderson 16.50 

Life Everlasting. Garrigou-Lagrange 16.50 

Confession Quizzes. Radio Replies Press 2.50 

St. Philip Neri. Fr V. J. Matthews 7.50 

St. Louise de Marillac. Sr Vincent Regnault 7.50 

The Old World and America. Rev. Philip Furlong 21.00 

Prophecy for Today. Edward Connor 7.50 

Bethlehem. Fr. Faber 20.00 

The Book of Infinite Love. Mother de la Touche 7.50 

The Church Teaches. Church Documents 18.00 

Conversation with Christ. Peter T. Rohrbach 12.50 

Purgatory and Heaven. J. P. Arendzen 6.00 

Liberalism Is a Sin. Sarda y Salvany 9.00 

Spiritual Legacy/Sr. Mary of Trinity, van den Broek 13.00 

The Creator and the Creature. Fr. Frederick Faber 17.50 

Radio Replies. 3 Vols. Frs. Rumble and Carty 48.00 

Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine. Geiermann 5.00 

Incarnation. Birth, Infancy of Jesus Christ. Liguori 13.50 

Light and Peace. Fr. R. P Quadrupani 8.00 

Dogmatic Canons & Decrees of Trent, Vat. 1 1 1.00 

The Evolution Hoax Exposed. A. N. Field 9.00 

The Priest, the Man of God. St. Joseph Cafasso 16.00 

Christ Denied. Fr Paul Wickens 3.50 

New Regulations on Indulgences. Fr Winfrid Herbst 3.00 

A Tour of the Summa. Msgr Paul Glenn 22.50 

Spiritual Conferences. Fr Frederick Faber 18.00 

Bible Quizzes. Radio Replies Press 2.50 

Marriage Quizzes. Radio Replies Press 2.50 

True Church Quizzes. Radio Replies Press 2.50 

Mary, Mother of the Church. Church Documents 5.00 

The Sacred Heart and the Priesthood, de la Touche 10.00 

Blessed Sacrament. Fr. Faber 20.00 

Revelations of St. Bridget. St. Bridget of Sweden 4.50 

Prices subjecl to change. 

Story of a Soul. 57. There se of Lisieux 9.00 

Catholic Children's Treasure Box Books 1-10 40.00 

Prayers and Heavenly Promises. Cruz 5.00 

Magnificent Prayers. Si. Bridget of Sweden 2.00 

The Happiness of Heaven. Fr. J. Boudreau 10.00 

The Holy Eucharist — Our All. Fr. Lucas Filin 3.00 

The Glories of Mary. St. Alphonsus Liguori 21 .00 

The Cure D’Ars. Abbe Francis Trochu 24.00 

Humility of Heart. Fr Cajetan da Bergamo 9.00 

Love, Peace and Joy. (St. Gertrude). Prevot 8.00 

Pere Lamy. Biver 15.00 

Passion of Jesus & Its Hidden Meaning. Groenings 15.00 

Mother of God & Her Glorious Feasts. Fr. O'Laverty 15.00 

Song of Songs — A Mystical Exposition. Fr. Arintero 21.50 

Love and Service of God, Infinite Love, de la Touche 15.00 

Life & Work of Mother Louise Marg. Fr. O'Connell 15.00 

Martyrs of the Coliseum. O'Reilly 21.00 

Rhine Flows into the Tiber. Fr. Wiltgen 16.50 

What Catholics Believe. Fr. Lawrence Lovasik 6.00 

Who Is Therese Neumann? Fr. Charles Cart}' 3.50 

Summa of the Christian Life. 3 Vols. Granada 43.00 

St. Francis of Paola. Simi and Segreti 9.00 

The Rosary in Action. John Johnson 12.00 

St. Dominic. Sr Mary Jean Dorcy 13.50 

Is It a Saint's Name? Fr. William Dunne 3.00 

St. Martin de Porres. Giuliana Cavallini 15.00 

Douay-Rheims New Testament. Paperbound 16.50 

St. Catherine of Siena. Alice Curtayne 16.50 

Blessed Virgin Mary. Liguori 7.50 

Chats With Converts. Fr. M. D. Forrest 13.50 

The Stigmata and Modem Science. Fr. Charles Carty 2.50 

St. Gertrude the Great 2.50 

Thirty Favorite Novenas 1.50 

Brief Life of Christ. Fr. Rumble 3.50 

Catechism of Mental Prayer. Msgr. Simler 3.00 

On Freemasonry. Pope Leo XIII 2.50 

Thoughts of the Cure D'Ars. St. John Vianney 3.00 

Incredible Creed of Jehovah Witnesses. Fr. Rumble 3.00 

St. Pius V — His Life, Times, Miracles. Anderson 7.00 

St. Dominic's Family. Sr. Mary' Jean Dorcy 27.50 

St. Rose of Lima. Sr. Alphonsus 16.50 

Latin Grammar. Scanlon & Scanlon 18.00 

Second Latin. Scanlon & Scanlon 16.50 

St. Joseph of Copertino. Pastrovicchi 8.00 

Prices subject lo change. 

Holy Eucharist — Our All. Fr Lukas Etlin, O.S.B 3.00 

Glories of Divine Grace. Fr. Scheeben 18.00 

Saint Michael and the Angels. Approved Sources 9.00 

Dolorous Passion of Our Lord. Anne C. Emmerich 18.00 

Our Lady of Fatima’s Peace Plan from Heaven. Booklet 1 .00 

Three Ways of the Spiritual Life. Garrigou-Lagrange 7.00 

Mystical Evolution. 2 Vols. Fr Arintero , O.P. 42.00 

St. Catherine Laboure of the Mirac. Medal. Fr Dirvin 16.50 

Manual of Practical Devotion to St. Joseph. Patrignani 17.50 

The Active Catholic. Fr Palau 9.00 

Ven. Jacinta Marto of Fatima. Cirrincione 3.00 

Reign of Christ the King. Davies 2.00 

St. Teresa of Avila. William Thomas Walsh 24.00 

Isabella of Spain — The Last Crusader. Wm. T. Walsh 24.00 

Characters of the Inquisition. Wm. T. Walsh 16.50 

Blood-Drenched Altars — Cath. Comment. Hist. Mexico 21.50 

Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence, de Caussade 22.50 

Way of the Cross. Liguorian 1.50 

Way of the Cross. Franciscan 1.50 

Modem Saints — Their Lives & Faces, Bk. 1. Ann Ball 21.00 

Modem Saints — Their Lives & Faces, Bk. 2. Ann Ball 23.00 

Divine Favors Granted to St. Joseph. Pere Binet 7.50 

St. Joseph Cafasso — Priest of the Gallows. St. J. Bosco 6.00 

Catechism of the Council of Trent. McHugh/Callan 27.50 

Why Squander Illness? Frs. Rumble & Cart}' 4.00 

Fatima — The Great Sign. Francis Johnston 12.00 

Heliotropium — Conformity of Human Will to Divine 15.00 

Charity for the Suffering Souls. Fr John Nageleisen 18.00 

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Verheylezoon 16.50 

Sermons on Prayer. St. Francis de Sales 7.00 

Sermons on Our Lady. St. Francis de Sales 15.00 

Sermons for Lent. St. Francis de Sales 15.00 

Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. Ott 27.50 

Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (100 cards) 5.00 

Who Is Padre Pio? Radio Replies Press 3.00 

Child’s Bible History. Knecht 7.00 

St. Anthony — The Wonder Worker of Padua. Stoddard 7.00 

The Precious Blood. Fr Faber 16.50 

The Holy Shroud & Four Visions. Fr. O'Connell 3.50 

Clean Love in Courtship. Fr. Lawrence Lovasik 4.50 

The Secret of the Rosary. St. Louis De Montfort 5.00 

At your Bookdealer or direct from the Publisher, 
Call Toll Free 1-800-437-5876 

Prices subject to change. 









(continued from hack cover) 

Christ has to cultivate, through prayer, the life of God in 
his soul, that through him God may work more effec- 
tively. For the work of any true apostolate is really 
God’s work, not that of the individual apostle. “He must 
increase, but 1 must decrease,” said St. John the Baptist 
of his own apostolate. (John 3:30). “And I live, now not 
I, but Christ liveth in me,” exclaimed St. Paul. ( Gala- 
tians 2:20). Both these passages give Scripture’s view of 
the apostle and his work. Ultimately, the Apostle of 
Jesus Christ is helping to communicate the divine life of 
God to others; and this activity, of its very nature, is 
totally beyond his capability. By prayer, meditation and 
cultivation of the interior life, however, the apostle of 
Christ will more and more develop himself to be a bet- 
ter channel of God’s grace to others, and he will come to 
understand his own insignificance and his true role in his 
apostolic work— as that of an instrument of God. This is 
a necessary insight for all true apostles of Our Lord to 
achieve and one which Dom Chautard explores from 
every angle in this book. For anyone, therefore, who 
would work for Our Lord and His Church, there is no 
book more important to read and to follow than Dom 
Chautard 's The Soul of the Apostolate. 

The Interio 



D OM CHAUTARD. a French Cistercian abbot, shows 
in The Soul of the Apostolate that the essence of 
every apostolic work undertaken for Our Lord is the inte- 
rior life of grace within the individual apostle's soul — a life 
that is fed by prayer and conformity to the will of God. The 
reason the apostle's interior life is “the soul of the aposto- 
late, ” he explains, stems from the very nature of God, 
which is Goodness Itself, and which overflows in His Will 
to communicate Himself to others. This communication to 
men is accomplished through the God-Man Jesus Christ, 
and from Him to His Church, and from His Church to her 
apostolic members in every age. What is being given by 
God to the world, the author explains, is actually a sharing 
in the life of God Himself— Sanctifying Grace— so that, 
“through men, men are to find out the way to salvation." 
(Page 4). Apostolic work is thus “a share in His work and 
in His glory!” (Page 5). Therefore, the apostle of Jesus 

(continued on inside hack cover) 


—Cistercian adage 


ISBN 0-61555-031-6